Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday stuff

John went to the Y early this morning, and then to the doc's office for fasting blood work. He's scheduled for a physical next week - nothing wrong, just a checkup.

I went in for an eye exam. Our optician is extremely thorough, which I appreciate since I do have that herpetic eye thing. (It's like shingles, but in my eye, and incredibly painful when it flares up.) Fortunately it's been quiescent for several years now.

He told me I have no signs of macular degeneration, and only minimal, probably age-related signs of glaucoma. I had noticed that my glasses might be needing changed, but it wasn't bad enough for me to mention. It showed up on the exam, though, so I was okay with going ahead and ordering new lenses. The new insurance I had to get this year will pay for most of the cost, so it won't be too bad.

Then it was a quick trip to the grocery stores. I got a rotisserie chicken for supper tonight. That’s such a bargain - usually 2-3 meals, plus broth for a soup base.


I love to take pictures of bridges from the water. These are from the waterway as the Grande Caribe left New Orleans.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday photo

What an odd thing to see, all by itself,  rising out of the scrub just off the waterway outside of New Orleans.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Wish List Meme

1.) What are 3 things on your Wish list and why?
Good health - for obvious reasons
Making the right choices about the rest of my life.
More travel - always more travel. We still haven’t been to Spain or the Dordogne or I-don’t-know-where or back to too many places to list.

2.) What do you miss about your childhood?
Nothing I can think of.  Maybe the lack of responsibility.
 3.) What do you do on your spare time on the weekends?
When you’re retired, it’s always the weekend. Sometimes we get together with our kids who still have to work during the week. Spend more time reading the Sunday paper.

4.) What do you appreciate most in your life?
My family, my generally good health, not having financial worries, having had the opportunities to go to the places and see the things we have.

5.) Would you rather be rich or healthy?
Definitely healthy, but with enough money so it’s not a constant worry.

6.) If you could go back in time would you and why?
I don’t think I would. For many things, it’s “been there, done that”. With others, it’s a feeling that reliving things might not be as good as the reality has been. I don’t feel the need to relive anything.

7.) Favorite game as a child?
I remember loving to play jacks.

8.) What is your dream career?
Being retired - I’m pretty good at it. I enjoyed doing the work I did (medical transcriptionist, medical secretary), but I enjoy not doing it, too. I wish I were a better, more consistent, and more diligent painter.

9.) What do you do in your free time?
My time is generally my own. I knit, read, work word puzzles, watch TV, talk with family and friends.

10.) Favorite clothing stores?
That’s funny! My favorite clothing store is Wal-Mart, or catalogs (LLBean, Hanes, etc.)

11.) What TV shows can't you live without?
I can (and have when traveling) live without any of them. But I’ll surely miss NCIS when they decide to call it a day.

12.) 3 things you need in your life are:
John, my family, my friends

13.) What can't you sleep without?
I can sleep under almost any conditions. I do like to have a pillow and at least a light cover, but I can do without.

14.) What are you currently a nerd for?
Working word puzzles, double crostics, cryptograms

15.) What is your favorite seasoning?
Garlic, without a doubt!

16.) What is your favorite wild animal?
I don’t know that I have one, but I’m pretty partial to raptors (hawks and eagles) and wolves.

17.) Name 3 of your favorite childhood shows:
Remember, I’m old. We didn’t have TV when I was a child. I liked Let’s Pretend on the radio.

18.) If you could live as a character in a movie who would it be?
I’ve drawn a blank on this one.

19.) Favorite vegetable?
A fresh home-grown tomato.

20.) Favorite Fruit?
A fresh home-grown tomato

21.) If you had a dragon what would you name it?
Puff (and I stole that answer from Bev - Thanks.)

22.) What do you put on hotdogs?
At Costco, deli mustard, onions, and kraut.
At home, mustard and onions

23.) Do you play online games?
I don’t play “real-time” games with other people or timed games. I play Words with Friends, What’s That Word?, 7 Little Words, the Enigma Game, Cricklers, Mexican Train

24.) What's your favorite way to get inspired?
If I ever figured it out, I would probably spend more time painting.

25.) Do you have a middle name?
Nope, other than my maiden name. I went through my school days as “Mary (None) Wheeler”. My father didn’t like being called by both his names (the old Southern tradition), so he eliminated the problem with his children by not giving us middle names. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Obviously it's not for me to understand...

Obviously I’m not supposed to understand these things.

I went out this morning to do my first pass at looking for stoves. Sue suggested I check with my local appliance store. I don’t seem to have one of those. One of my swimmer friends wrote on my fb page, "Don't shop, eat out". You have to love a friend like that.

So I did go to look. It's amazing what people find important. Did you know they make a stove with what they call a "hearth window", straight on sides and bottom, arched on the top, and charge extra for it? You can also pay extra for grates over the burners made of cast iron. They're made to cover two burners and weigh a ton. I guess if you get those, you have somebody else to clean up spills and splatters when you cook.

I'm definitely not going for fancy and expensive. I cook most days, but I'm not really "into" cooking and doing fancy things. Just plain and basic for me. I went to Lowe's, Home Depot, and a Sears outlet place this morning - they're nearby. I'm over near our HHGregg on Wednesday, so I'll check that out then - although I'm looking at web sites, too. Whatever I get will have to include delivery, installation, and hauling the old one off.

I hadn't had a gas stove since we left Texas in 1962. In 1989, when we decided to change our house here to natural gas heat, I jumped at the chance to get a gas stove. Even after all those years, I never did like cooking on an electric stove.

Stay tuned for later developments.


We watched one of our favorite old “throw-away” movies tonight. Have you ever seen the 1988 Rocket Gibraltar, starring Burt Lancaster? It’s such a delightful movie. And it’s full of folks who have since made it big - Kevin Spacey, Bill Pullman, Macauley Culkin, Patricia Clarkson, even a bit part for David Hyde Pierce. Check it out sometime.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Congratulations, it's a new stove!

Well, it looks like there's a new gas stove in my future. The repair guy came. He turned on the oven, it finally clicked on, and then promptly kicked off. At least it looks like it really died this time - after all, it's only 24 years old. (I wonder if that's like dog years???)

After some searching on his database, he finally found one replacement part, and said they wanted $300 !!!! for it. He said when there are a only a few parts left for the old appliances, rather than selling them cheaply to get rid of them, they jack up the price so customers will buy a new appliance. That sounds like it just might be true. Anyhow, I paid the nice man for the service call and said I'd start looking for a new one. Sighhhhhhhhhhhh! You know how I feel about shopping.

I am getting some advice. Sue says to call my local appliance store, tell them what I want, then sign the papers. Marion says “Don’t shop, eat out.” I like the way they think, but I’ll still have to do some looking around.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


I’ve been having trouble with the temperature regulation in my oven for some time now. John’s fiddled with the gauge setting, but that hasn’t really helped. I keep a thermometer in the oven so I can check to see what happens when I set the dial for 350. After 30 minutes, it might be 450, or it might be 300. It’s always a surprise.

The range is a GE gas stove. We got it when we changed the heating to natural gas in early 1989. This stove is now old enough to vote, to buy its own booze, and is older than Sarah. I broke up the representative at the gas company when I said this during my call to get a recommendation for a repair company. She suggested having a moment of silence over it and go shopping for a new one. I called and the guy is coming tomorrow to give me an estimate.


We went to see 42 tonight. In case you don’t know, it’s the story of Jackie Robinson as he became the first black to play in major league baseball. It's a really good movie - definitely one we'd recommend. The small stadium scenes and the train at the railroad station were filmed here in Chattanooga, and a lot of the extras are local people. It was a big deal while they were here filming last year. Really great music from the 1940s, too.

After the movie, we went to eat at Outback. We hadn’t been there in years. The food was as good as we’d remembered. We enjoy going to the movies. I wish we’d find more that we wanted to see so we could do it more often.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What a wimp!

It was a busy day for me. I don’t know how we used to work for 8 or more hours, and then come home and do other stuff. No way I could do that now. I wonder what happened. It couldn’t possibly be an age thing.

After swimming and coffee, we got haircuts. I went to the lecture part of my art class (which is what I've been doing this session), and then to get another mani/pedi.

I was very pleased with my gel nails (done 3 weeks ago), and wanted to get them done again. I don't know that I'll want to be spending that much that often, though, so don't know how long I'll continue. The guy in the shop did my pedicure this time. He really does a great job, with a good foot and leg massage, so I'll probably go back to him next time.

So that was it for the day, and I got home about 2:30. What a wimp!
On the Grande Caribe

Tuesday haiku

Slept late. Groceries.
Gorgeous sunshine, 75.
Frittata supper.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday, Monday

Even more routine today. Swimming, coffee, and bridge. The cards at bridge were pretty bad for the first several rounds. I had a good store for the last two rounds, but…. We keep playing because we know the cards will eventually change. We just hope we don’t forget how to play in the meantime.

Life, since we returned from our trip, has been pretty humdrum. This is not a bad thing, but doesn’t make for fabulous reading. I’ll see what I can do to keep things interesting.

In the meantime, here’s another photo from our trip - a lift bridge on the way out of New Orleans.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Silent Sunday

Where our ship (the Grande Caribe) was docked in New Orleans.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Silent Saturday

Bellingrath Gardens, Mobile, AL

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thoughts on the past week

It’s wonderful that the combined police forces captured the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. It’s amazing that they got this solved and hopefully ended in such a short time.

It’s amazing, with the type of bomb that the murders used, that there were only three people killed at the race site. And with the amount of gunfire that was exchanged during the pursuit, there was only one person killed and one seriously wounded. (I’m not counting the bomber killed by the police. )

A number of the injuries that were sustained were definitely life-altering (amputations, etc.) and are terrible. I don’t mean to belittle any of the horror and tragedy of what happened in Boston last week.

But to a large extent, the murderers got what they were after - death and mayhem, disruption of everyday life, attention to their cause (whatever it might turn out to be), and the constant focus of the media on them and their lives. They definitely got their “15 minutes of fame”.

But suddenly the six adults and twenty children murdered in Newtown, CT, have been put on the back burner. The despicable vote by the Senate to defeat a bill to expand background checks on gun sales was barely mentioned.

And the fertilizer plant explosion that has killed at least 14, injured scores more, and destroyed most of the town of West, TX, was all but totally ignored. Somehow, the number of fatalities in West would seem to justify its being the top news story, but there has been constant coverage from Boston.

Again, the bombers seemed to have accomplished their objectives.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Am I surprised?

Am I disappointed at the Senate vote on expanding background checks for gun-buyers? Yes

Am I disgusted? Yes

Do I hate it that both Tennessee senators voted against the bill? Yes

Am I surprised? Not even a little bit.

A couple of John's pictures from Bellingrath Gardens, Mobile, AL.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Routine (or maybe "rut")

Back into the routine today, with swimming and coffee.  It surely did feel good to get back into the pool - even though it was only 81 degrees, and I was pretty stiff at first.  The coffee and the conversation was great, as usual.

I even got back to the art class I'm auditing this session.  That got me some brain exercise.
I just heard that Jonathan Winters died last week.  What an incredibly funny man he was!  He influenced a lot of our funniest people about today.  Click here to read what Robin Williams had to say about Winters.  Did you know he was a painter?  Click here  to go to his web site.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Random thoughts on the trip

The trip was very casual. Rarely did anybody change for dinner. One “elderly” man put on a tie for the last night, and was teased about it.

With maybe one exception, the food was wonderful. There was a loaf of fresh-baked bread on every table at dinner. The left-overs (if any) or extra loaves were sliced and toasted for breakfast the next morning.

Lunch was a mixed salad, soup, sandwiches, and home-made cookies. The soups were fantastic; the very best of the best was a mushroom soup.

There was a meat choice and a fish choice every night for dinner. We frequently got the fish, but both were usually good. The only exception was tuna one night. Don’t know what happened, but it was dry and overcooked - definitely an aberration.

Our first meal on the boat in New Orleans was prepared by folks from the New Orleans School of Cooking - gumbo, crawfish etouffe, and pralines. Definitely good!

I heard someone say the average age was about 82, so we didn‘t change it much. This was definitely not a loud night-life kind of crowd. The evening’s entertainment was usually over between 9:30 and 10.

If we take another trip on this boat (and it’s a definite possibility) we’ll get one of the larger cabins. I know we don’t spend time in our cabins except to sleep, but 8.5 x 10.5’ is pretty small if both of us are trying to get dressed. It’s definitely doable, though.

The crew was very nice, cheerful, helpful, and fun.

I was almost finished knitting a pair of socks, when one of the women asked if I would sell them to her. I’ve never done that before, but was happy to do so. She wore them later and was very pleased.

I also sold two paintings. Jean’s friend/neighbor/landlady wanted to see some of them, so I took a bunch when we went to Nashville. Two of them looked like I had done them for specific places in her house - it was amazing. What fun!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Home again

Our trip on the Grande Caribe with Blount Small Ship Adventures was terrific. There were 63 passengers on this trip, and it was a varied and congenial group. We boarded in New Orleans and headed to Nashville. The itinerary went through the Intracoastal Waterway, Mobile Bay, the Mobile, Alabama, Black Warrior, and Tombigbee Rivers, then into the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The Tenn-Tom ends at the Tennessee River where MS, AL, and TN come together. The route went down the Tennessee to the Barkley Canal across the Land Between the Lakes to the Cumberland River. We went up the Cumberland to our destination in Nashville.

There were a number of stops (Mobile, Demopolis, AL, Columbus, MS, Shiloh Military Battlefield, Eddyville, KY, and Clarksville, TN, with optional tours or walk around time. Our on-board expert was a recently retired superintendent at Shiloh and long-time park ranger. He and his wife had completed a through-hike of the Appalachian Trail last year, and their story of that accomplishment was special.

The cabins on this small ship were, as you might expect, very small, but comfortable. And, of course, we didn’t expect to spend time in our cabins in any case. The food was exceptional. The sous-chef was the baker, and she made the bread for all our meals - to say nothing of the cookies and sweet rolls and scones for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Yum!

We got home about noon. John got the car unloaded, I got the bags unpacked and stuff ready for the laundry and/or put away, and even got in a quick trip to the grocery store. Then a bit of lunch and plowed through the mail - at least most of it went in the recycle bin. John took a nap and then went to get his boat ready for his first row of the season in the morning (hopefully). I got the two papers looked at (I had it restarted yesterday so we'd have the TV section for the week), and spent most of the rest of the day getting caught with computer stuff. The boat had a wifi router which worked well, but lots of times, there was no signal in range for the router to pick up. Sometimes, we didn’t even have cell phone service. We all survived. I even got a couple of new games to play on my iPad from one of the other passengers.

We got some good photos, and I’ll be sharing them. But today I want to put up a great picture of Jesse and Maddy. It’s wonderful just because it is, but it’s almost identical to a picture I took about 22 or so years ago of Jesse’s dad and brother.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Last night was at Buzzard Rock Marina. Sorry about the mistake.

Today was a gorgeous day's sail up the Cumberland River to our day's stop in Clarksville, TN.  Kate and Wayne drove down, and we gave them a tour of the boat.  Then we spent a lovely afternoon on the top deck, talking and enjoying the weather.  We're off to Nashville, our last stop tomorrow.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Buzzard's Neck Marina

We're stopped for the day/night here near Eddyville, KY, on the Cumberland River.  Since we have a connection, I thought I'd check in.  We're going on a tour of Land Between The Lakes in about an hour.  On to Clarksville, TN, in the morning.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


We're weathering the storm line near Corinth, MS.  Just rain so far.  We hope to be moving again by supper time, moving all night to be back on schedule.  At least we still have Internet here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

On the road ( water)

We've been gone since last Thursday, without the expected Internet connections.  Life happens sometimes.

Anyhow we're here on the Grand Caribe, almost to the Tennessee River from yhe Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway.  This is a lovely marina near Shiloh Military Battlefield.  We left from New Orleans last Friday morning, through Mobile, then up the Mobile, Black Warrior, and Tombigbee Rivers to it this site.  We'll be staying here overnight, hoping the coming storm goes by without too much hue and cry, and we'll be on our way down the Tennessee River in the morning.

It's been a great trip!  Only @ 65 passengers, great food, nice weather.   We've seen lots of eagles and ospreys, other more common birds.  Trees coming into leaf, redbuds, dogwoods, even azaleas.

We did get ball scores.  Congrats to the Louisville men and the UConn women (even if it would've been better if it'd been our Lady Vols).

From here we go down the Tennessee almost to the Ohio, cut across to the Cumberland, then back up to Nashville.  I'll be back when I get a chance.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Rant (and shoulder update)

Rutgers has one of the great coaches in women’s basketball. C. Vivian Stringer is one of the great ladies of sports - certainly a role model for any aspiring coach.

How can a university with Stringer as an example put up with a scumbag like Mike Rice for five minutes?! Much less originally giving him four months probation. His ass should’ve been fired the moment anyone was aware of his attitude toward his players.

I’ve always thought Bobby Knight was one of the sport world’s worst people, but this guy may set a new low. I couldn’t believe that Knight was ever hired again as a coach, or that he is actually on TV commenting on ballgames and doing commercials. And I can only hope this doesn’t happen with this disgraced coach.

Rice should not only be fired, but get no retirement or other benefits. Since this behavior had been going on for several years, the AD should be fired also.

The families of the players would certainly be within their rights to sue the pants off Rice and the university.

As I said, I just can’t equate this with the home of C. Vivian Stringer.


Health note: I saw the orthopedist today. He said all is going well with my shoulder. Within another 6-8 months, I should gain another 10-15% active motion. I’ll probably never get to where I was before I fell. I specifically asked, and he said it wasn’t a mental problem, it was mechanical. Those lifting muscles in my arm aren’t attached the way they were before the accident. I need to continue to work on strengthening the muscles. I go back in September.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

No joy in Knoxville

Lady Vols lose game.

Season ends here. Louisville

Goes to Final Four.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Finally, some good cards

Bridge today was a joy. I had some really great cards - and when I didn’t, my partner did. John and I played together the first round, won the round, and did not play one hand. I don’t know if I’ll win high for the day, but if not, I was really close. It was sweet!


We’ll pick up our tax stuff from the accountant tomorrow, so we can get the papers filed before we leave. Welcome to April.