Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday storms, etc.

The worst of the weather is finished here. It didn't get as warm here as in other locations, so our weather wasn't as severe. We have had over 2" of rain today. I've heard that I-75 in Georgia, north of Atlanta, over 100 cars were overturned, and the road was closed for 10 miles. Wild stuff, but we were lucky here!

We had been given a gift card for Sticky Fingers (a terrific BBQ place), and planned to go there after my painting class today. It's near where my class is, and John came to meet me. We had a great lunch, and I was waiting for him to get out the card to pay for lunch. He was waiting for me. Turned out neither of us had brought the card. Oh, well - that just means we'll have to go back.

And we (me, John, the instructor, the class) have decided that my painting is finished. I’ll get the last bit of stuff done (final finish coat and signature). I don’t know that I’ll get it framed, but I’ll recommend that it be done with the four sections side-by-side. I’m pleased with it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Kate!

Today’s Kate’s birthday.
January twenty-nine.
I won’t say what year.

Today’s possible record high temperature of near 70 never materialized. Records were broken all around us, but the fog never lifted from Chattanooga in the Tennessee River valley. So the temps never got much above 60. We’re still due to get that powerful line of weather coming in from the west, but not until about rush hour in the morning. Oh, goody!


My massage was postponed because of weather last week, but she made up for it today. Wonderful!


I never listen to sales calls, but I love surveys. I figure most of the time, I’m so out of step with the world that I totally screw up the expected numbers. We got a call a couple of weeks ago asking if we’d keep one of the Nielsen Rating diaries. Well, of course! Actually, this is the second time we’ve done it - once a couple of years ago.

The diaries and instructions arrived Saturday, with the ratings week to begin on Thursday. They really want to know anything that happens with every TV in the house during the week - even if it’s turned off the whole time. It’ll be interesting. And remember folks, we’ll be having a say in deciding what you’ll be watching. Be afraid. Be VERY afraid!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday haiku

Mondays mean swimming,
Coffee time and laughs with friends.
Some good cards at bridge.
There’s basketball, too.
Lady Vols and Notre Dame.
Too bad, our gals lost.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Stealing

Stolen from Sunday Stealing.

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?
     Probably the same thing I'm doing this year.

2. By this time next year, I ...
     I hope I'll have a more normal range of motion in my arm.

3. Do you think the United States will elect a female President in your lifetime? Do you think this would be a good thing?
     I certainly hope so.  With a few exceptions, I think it'll be a great improvement.

4. Which fictional, TV show character you would shag anytime?
     I'm not interested in relationships with strangers.

5. Who is your greatest enemy?
     Myself, of course!

6. Tell me about your most recent trip of more than 100 miles?
      The most recent trip of over 100 miles was to see our UTC Lady Mocs play basketball at Auburn (they lost).

7. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?
      The dictionary - I don't think I've ever used a thesaurus.

8. Do you have a nickname? What is it?
      My name doesn't lend itself to a nickname.  In recent years, it's been Mom or Grandma.

9. What are you dreading at the moment?
       I don't look for trouble.  I'm always concerned about falling now.

10. Do you worry that others will judge you from reading some of your answers?
      If I did, I wouldn't be doing this in the first place.

11. If you find an outfit you love, but the size on the label is larger than you want, do you buy the outfit? Why or why not?
       I buy clothes that fit and are comfortable.  I don't care what size is on the label.

12. Even the biggest slackers are anal-retentive about something? What are you anal-retentive about?
      I'm sort of particular about the way a bed is made up, but I wouldn't say I was anal about it.

13. Out of all the books you read as a child, which one had the biggest influence on how you are today?
      I don't remember one in particular.

14. Which Golden Girl would you want to spend a night on the town with?
      I never watched the Golden Girls, so I don't have an answer for this one.

15. What is the one product you would never buy in its generic form even if the generic is half the price?
     For me it would be toilet paper; for John it would be saltine crackers.

16. How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa?
     I don't remember believing in Santa - it was never a tradition in our family.

17. What is the one smell that turns your stomach without fail?
      It doesn't nauseate me, but I can't stand the smell of coconut, and can detect it in minute amounts.

18. If someone holds out a carton of milk to you and asks you to sniff it to see if its spoiled, do you?
    Of course - better to smell it than to pour it on your cereal and then find out it was sour.

19. You have a completely free day and $2000.00, What are you doing?
      I'd be looking at trips to take and add that to the amount we had to spend on it.

20. What is the most used item in your home?
      First would have to be the toilet.  Next the computer, and then the TV.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My friend, Dalton

I'm so glad Dalton Roberts is my friend.  What a lovely mind and heart this man has!

By Dalton Roberts

You can’t touch a rainbow
but rainbows are real.

A rainbow can lift your heart
on a dull, dreary day.
How many things have such power?
Yes, rainbows are real.

Become more sensitive
to the subtler aspects of reality
and you will not be such a sucker
for the dense, physical things
that have us hypnotized.

The rainbow is as real as anything can be,
There’s something there.
You can see it.
If just one of your senses verifies something
It is real.
Sometimes your sixth sense is right on the money.

You can’t touch a lot of things
that as real as a concrete wall.
Like love.
If you don’t think love is real
try to take a frightened baby away from its mother
or a child’s hand out of his father’s hand
or try to keep a son from kissing his mother as she dies.

Rainbows and love
have more in common
than concrete and steel.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chattanooga winter

We had freezing rain predicted for this morning, so schools all over the area announced closings last night. Classes at the Y are usually cancelled when schools are closed. When we got up early this morning, the roads were still just wet, so we went on to the Y. Had it almost all to ourselves, and got in good workouts. We decided to just come on home (about 8:30) and pack it in for the day. Good thing we did, because the rain started freezing started about 9:30. We got a thin coating of ice on all our trees and other stuff. But then the temperature “warmed” up to about 34-35, and the precipitation turned to just rain. Made for a pretty yucky day, but produced a couple of spectacular naps.

This was definitely a soup-type day, so I made some potato soup. What wonderful nasty-cold-weather comfort food that is!

And we're predicted to have temperatures in the 60s next week.  Of course, then back into the 40s.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


This morning, we went to Costco for our monthly shopping trip and gourmet lunch. I must not have been trying very hard, because our tab was less than $100.00. That certainly won’t help the economy. I guess I’ll just have to try harder.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

BP and Painting

I've talked to the nurse again today. The doc said the new medicine should take a week or more to take effect. I just started taking it Saturday, so I'm just to keep on monitoring the BP, and let them know if it doesn't start going back down. I've only taken it once today, but it was lower than any time yesterday. So maybe it's starting to kick in.
I feel like I'm getting back into painting. I started something (a group of four paintings worked at the same time, each @ 11x15") in the one class I took after I originally fell. I've been fiddling with them ever since, and I think I'm finally getting somewhere. Sandy (the instructor) says I'm almost finished with them. With the kind of work I do, that's usually the hardest part - deciding when a piece is finished. I’ll share the not-quite-finished pieces - one with all four, then two and two.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday haiku

New BP Rx.
Now blood pressure very high.
Hope doc calls back soon.
The volcanic island of Stromboli.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Miscellany

This morning Poolagirl posted this on her blog, Life Aboard the HMS Pie Rat.  
It was so well said, I just wanted to quote her.

I wish President Obama the best as he saddles up for another term. I hope the people who are so opposed to him and his ideas will bend enough to work together. Granted, not everything he says is absolutely true and right, but if we learn to COMPROMISE for the GOOD OF ALL and set aside the POLITICAL INTENT of the LOBBYISTS who pour so many FAVORS and so much CASH into the pockets of our politicians……..if we could learn a few simple ways….if we could put integrity over pride……can you imagine?

John received this e-mail from a childhood friend who lives in Duluth, MN.  This is one of the main reasons we're glad we live in the South.

It (winter) arrived and with a blast of below zero and windy weather. The wind chill was 60 below in Hibbing last night!!! Thank goodness today is a holiday for the schools and I would not be surprised if they were closed Tuesday. I have ice at the bottom of all my windows but keep a humidifier going. It has not been cold like this for several years so I forgot how miserable it can be - you just stay inside, drink a hot beverage now and then and get those forgotten projects done. When I got up this morning it was 19 below and right now at 1 p.m. it is 13 below.

I’ve had a copy of a disc with the reports from my initial ER visit after my fall on 31 July 2012. We’re just now getting around to looking at it. I knew it was a bad break, but had no idea how bad it was until I looked at the x-ray and read the report. “severely displaced and comminuted fracture” just below the head of the humerus. The good part was that there was no damage below that or to the shoulder joint.  The other bad news was the comment about the “severe degenerative disc disease” in the cervical spine. Well, at least the shoulder has been fixed. Don’t know what could be done about the other. Getting old ain’t for sissies.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunny Sunday

Both of our basketball teams won big today. I hope your choices for teams to play in the Super Bowl also won.

Jean and some of her friends came over from Nashville to go to the Aquarium today. They invited me to go to lunch with them, and that was a nice treat.

Enjoy your holiday tomorrow (if it’s one you get) and enjoy watching the Inauguration festivities.
One last look at Mount Etna as we leave Taormina, Sicily.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Too much excitement

More sunshine today, but not much excitement otherwise.

We did a scheduled defrosting of the freezer this morning. Over the last six months, things have come and gone from the freezer without my knowing what’s what. I do know that I need to some of my stockpile cooking things (chili, meat loaf, lasagna, split pea soup). And I had no idea if there was any left, or what ingredients I had. So now I know. And it’s time to make some lists and get some cooking done. Thanks to John for doing most of the work.

He also did the only other work of the day - making a trip to the recycle center.
This is the symbol of the town of Taormina. I don’t remember the significance of the design - sorry.

Quiet Sunny Friday

Follow-up: Carol is doing well, a week after her surgery. We picked up some carry-out Chinese to take over for their dinner. We stayed, of course, and it was nice to see her up and about. It’s going to take a while for her to regain her strength, but she’s well on her way.

It was so nice to have a sunny day today. And it’s supposed to be sunny for the next few days.

A sunny day in Taormina.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

News items

  • We didn’t get any snow today.
  • Over the last 4-5 days, we got almost 6.5” of rain.
  • We went to the String Theory chamber music concert at the Hunter Museum tonight. It was a good one, as usual.
  • After being behind most of the game, the Lady Vols pulled one out over the Auburn Lady Tigers, 75-66.
  • We may actually see a bright light in the sky tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I’m really able to use the arm well in swimming - even doing some backstroke. I’m still need a lot of work doing doing the same stuff on dry land.

The big news today was getting back to painting. My class started back up, and I’m so glad to be making a mess with the paint again. I got out the pieces I started right before I fell, and started working on them again. I hope I can get in some consistent painting time and really make some progress in my work. I’ll try to remember to take photos of things as they happen.

This is one of my pieces from a year or so ago. (Acrylic on paper, 22 x 11”)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rain, rain, rain

We've had rain every day for the last seven days, for a total of at least 6". And it's still raining tonight.

I'll just look at more pictures from sunny Sicily.

These are looking off the back of the top of the amphitheater, and the inside of the amphitheater.

Monday, January 14, 2013


We’ve had over 4” of rain over the last couple of days, and it’s not supposed to stop until Wednesday. I surely am glad this isn’t snow!
Our Lady Mocs beat the College of Charleston tonight 64-53. They’re doing well this year - at least better than predicted.
I had not heard any of the last names of the children murdered in Newtown. Tonight, we turned the TV on in the middle of a Rachel Maddow interview with the parents of one of the first-graders. As I looked at the screen, I saw that their child’s name was Ben Wheeler. It just made my heart stop. My uncle was named Ben Wheeler (1905-1965). And there’s a town in Texas named Ben Wheeler. I’m sure there’s no family connection, but I can guarantee those parents that wherever they believe their son is now, there is a loving, kind man watching over his namesake. RIP Ben Wheeler.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Addendum, etc.

Addendum to yesterday’s meme:
The question was if I got along with my in-laws. For some reason, I only thought of my parents-in-law. We are very close to my sister-in-law and her husband. We love being with them and traveling with them. And we’re very close to our sons-in-law and grandson-in-law. I just didn’t want to leave them out.
Today was a usual Sunday, except for it being much to warm for January (high around 70), and lots of grey skies and evening rain - pouring down. The activities were also as usual - breakfast, laundry, exercises, basketball, football.
Our friend, Carol, had her surgery on Friday, and she says she is doing well. She’s still sore from the surgery and it will take her a while to get back her muscle tone and stamina from those weeks in bed. But she’ll get there, I know.
The spectacular view from Taormina.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sunday Stealing

Random Questions Meme, Part 2

21) What’s something you’ve always wanted?
To fly somewhere first class; to live on the ocean.

22) Do you have hairy legs?
No (one of the benefits of getting old)

23) What does “Semper Fidelis”stand for?
Always faithful (and I didn’t have to look it up)

24) Would you rather swim in the ocean or a lake?
Ocean (but lakes and swimming pools are okay)

25) Do you wear a lot of black?
I guess so, but I like a lot of color, too.

26) Describe your hair:
Grey to white, and very short.

27) Do you have Entomophobia?
No. I knew what it meant because my uncle was an entomologist and his granddaughter is one now.

28) Are you an adult?
An OLD adult !

29) Do you own or rent?
Own, but we’re getting to where we like the idea of renting an apartment.

30) Do you have a tan?
No - haven’t had one in years.

31) Are you addicted to TV?
There are programs I follow faithfully, but I wouldn’t say addicted. It’s rarely turned on in the daytime, and I don’t mind when we’re traveling and don’t see it. Also, I hate being in places where it is on all the time, like doctor’s office waiting rooms and the YMCA dressing room.

32) Do you enjoy spending time with your In-laws?
They’ve been dead for years, but we enjoyed visiting with them. We never wanted to live in the same town with either set of in-laws.

33) Are you a sugar freak?

34) What happened to Larry King?
I have no idea. Is he still alive?

35) What sign are you?
Zodiac? I’m a Pisces.

36) What do you wish on your birthday?
Nothing - maybe to be around on the next birthday.

37) Who did you copy this from?
Sunday Stealing

38) Do you eat breakfast?
Every day. It really IS the most important meal of the day.

39) What would you name the royal baby?
Some combination of Katherine, Ann, and Elizabeth. (It never occurred to me to come up with a boy’s name. )

40) Do you buy a newspaper?
We subscribe to our local paper, and always get USA Today when we’re staying in a motel. We’ll usually buy a local paper, too, when we’re traveling. I hope getting delivery of a printed paper doesn’t disappear in my lifetime. I’d really miss it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Never forget!

As a result of a fall several weeks ago, our friend, Carol, had surgery to stabilize a vertebral fracture this morning. Amazingly, she was back home by midafternoon. She’s still feeling the effects of the pain meds and the anesthesia, but we all hope she’ll be improving quickly.

They had gotten a new puppy (Annie, a brindle boxer cutie) just before the accident. Dealing with that (training and starting on obedience issues) was just an added problem. (This is not Annie, but a baby like her.)

We offered to “puppy-sit” Annie while they were at the hospital (actually I volunteered John). Mostly, he took the baby outside on a schedule and read his book.

But John said he forgot one important point of baby-sitting (no matter what the species)… when the baby is out of sight and it gets quiet, trouble is happening!

When he noticed it was quiet and he hadn’t seen Annie in a while, he went to check. Annie had decided that the wicker basket that held her toys was a lot more interesting than the toys inside. So she was chewing it up. And John realized he hadn’t been parenting for a long time.

Oh, well, he’ll survive, and I know Miss Annie will. And the patient is recuperating nicely.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I can't believe I .....

I can’t believe I ……

actually went “shopping” this morning. I had a couple of things to get and I went to three stores. That’s THREE!

I didn’t find what I wanted at the first store (tights to wear under my swim suit in the exercise class).

Looking for something different, I went to the second store, looking for a keyboard for my iPad. It was hard to look at the three that were possible, since they were all wrapped up in security apparatus. I finally just took one (the Logitech Bluetooth), knowing that I could bring it back if it didn’t work.

I headed to the third store, still looking for that elusive first item. There was one pair at Target that fit my criteria (and actually fit me when I got them home).

So it was an amazing day - shopping at three stores. And buying two items. And keeping both of them.

Review: I definitely like the keyboard. One-finger-typing was the only difficult thing for me with the iPad. I was a typist for too many years to make that transition easily. So it’s quite a pleasure to have a real keyboard to use with my new toy.

Mount Etna from the amphitheater in Taormina.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Wednesday haiku


Grey, rain for the week.
May get iPad keyboard for
Valentine’s, birthday.

And a way to add a photo has been found (I hope). This is what I take photos of while John is walking up steps at the amphitheater in Taormina.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Things still aren't working too well.

I still haven't figured out how to put photos on the blog since something changed last week.  I found a google forum and have posted a question there.  Now to see if I get an answer.


The water in the lap pool at the Y is still only 78 degrees.  For our classes, it's usually about 82-83.  I guess we'll be having our class in the shallow, "warm" pool (89 degrees) again Wednesday.  Oh, well.  It's better than no water exercise class at all.

Monday, January 07, 2013

This Monday is for John

This was a busy Monday - but generally a good one - especially for John.

We had a good swim class. The instructor had a different piece of equipment (stretch tubing with handles), so we worked some different muscles. And it was especially good for working my shoulder. It’s a little bit achy this evening, so that was a good workout.

After two Mondays off during the holidays, we finally got back to bridge. John and I both had some good cards - some lousy ones, too, but mostly good. John had one fabulous round (almost 4000 points in about 6 hands), and it was against the most obnoxious player in the group. Of course that made it extra sweet. In the last round, playing against me, he set my contract with a perfect defense. About half-way through the hand, he knew he was doing it, and I knew it too. He really enjoyed that, and I could only congratulate him on playing it so well.

The only sour note of the day was that the Lady Mocs lost to Elon in an overtime game.

John's loving the BCS game. He doesn’t really like Alabama, but he’ll always cheer for an SEC team. And he really dislikes Notre Dame.

At least we get to sleep later in the morning.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

I was going to post a photo, but.....

I’m really pissed off
At Blogger, and changes they’ve
Made in posting pics.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Sunday Stealing (on Saturday night)

This meme was stolen from Sunday Stealing , and was obviously written by somebody a lot younger than I.

40 of The Most Random Questions Meme, Part One

1) What side of the heart do you draw first?
The right side - I’m right-handed.

2) Can you dive without plugging your nose?

3) What color is your razor?
I haven’t shaved in years. It’s wonderful when body hair stops growing.

4) What is your blood-type?

5) Who would you want to be tied to for 24 hours?
John and I have always said we didn’t want to be “joined at the hip”, but we could stand it for 24 hours.

6) What is a rumor someone has spread about you?
If somebody has, I never heard it.

7) How do you feel about carrots?
I love carrots - raw or cooked.

8) How many chairs at the dining room table?
Usually 6, but we can squeeze in four more.

9) Which is the best Spice Girl?
Fortunately, I don’t know anything about the Spice Girls.

10) Do you know what time it is?
 It must be nighttime - it’s dark outside. There are clocks all over the house, and on the computer. All I have to do is look.

11) Do you know all the words to the Fresh Prince Theme Song?
Nope - one of those many shows we never watched.

12) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator?
Use the Emergency phone, and press the alarm button.

13) What’s your favorite kind of gum?
Yuck - I think chewing gum is nasty.

14) All’s fair in love and war?
People fight dirty in both situations - that doesn't make it fair.

15) Do you have a crush on anyone?
Nope. But Mark Harmon and Sean Connery are still pretty sexy.

16) Do you know how to use some words correctly, but not know the meaning?
I have a pretty good vocabulary, and try not to use any word that I don’t understand.

17) Do you like to sleep?
I love to sleep!

18) Do you know which US states don’t use Daylight Savings time?
I know there are a few - Arizona is one. But I don’t know the others.  I could look it up is you need to know.

19) Do you know the words to the song Total Eclipse of the Heart?
Never heard of that one.

20) Do you want a bright yellow ‘06 mustang?
No. I’m not a car person. Cars are just for transportation.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Friday Foto (or not)

Well, Phooey!
I was going to post two photographs from Taormina, Sicily, tonight.  But I guess Blogger has again changed the method for uploading photographs to the page.  I figured it out the last time they changed it (or screwed it  up), but I obviously haven't found the clues yet.  I'll keep trying.

Thursday, January 03, 2013


Sunshine is special.
Cleaning my closet, a chore.
Happy Birthday, Ken.


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Hoppin' John - my version

It seems there are traditions in different sections of the country (and probably the world) that certain foods, if eaten on New Year’s Day, are supposed to bring good luck throughout the coming year. When I was growing up in Houston, and throughout the Southern US, it’s black-eyed peas - in some form or another. One of these is a combination of black-eyed peas and rice called Hoppin' John.

Last week there was a recipe in our paper for a baked version of Hoppin' John. We had plain black-eyed peas and rice last night, but I made the casserole tonight, and it was really good. Here’s my version:

I used dried peas, so they were cooked. And the left-over rice was cooked. Mix together equal parts of cooked, drained black-eyed peas and cooked rice. (I had about three cups of each.)

Crisp cook several pieces of bacon, drain, crumble and set aside. (You vegetarians - and you know who you are - could easily leave the bacon out.) Saute a chopped onion and some garlic in the drippings, drain. I added a chopped pickled jalapeno pepper, too.

Mix all this stuff together with about a cup of grated Monterey Jack or mixed white and yellow cheese. Put into a casserole and top with more grated cheese. Heat at 350* until hot through, and cheese is melted.

This made one casserole that made two meals for the two of us, plus two containers for the freezer of one-meal sizes for the two of us.

This is pretty much an approximation of what was in the paper, but since I rarely follow a recipe specifically, this is my version. I was prepared to throw it out if it was awful, but we really liked it. Give it a try - maybe even with some other kinds of dried beans.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

And 2013 begins...

As usual, the first problem in any new year is making the transition to the new number any time you write the date.  I hope that's the worst problem we have in this upcoming 365 days.

In any case, I hope your year is a good one - with only enough glitches to make things interesting, and nothing to cause you pain. 

It’s the end of an
Old Year, the start of the new.
Hi, twenty-thirteen.