Friday, May 31, 2013

Thursday thirteen

1. I’m very glad I’ve learned to sleep late.
2. John left early for what turned out to be a very good rowing session.
3. Getting a massage makes for a great day.
4. The massage therapist has wonderfully strong hands.
5. It was another gorgeous late spring day.
6. The electronic pulse massager I got from Woot was delivered today. I haven’t tried it yet.
7. I went to the orthopedist to check on some extra pain and swelling in my arm.
8. He said was probably nothing, keep the scheduled appointment in September, let him know if it got worse.
9. Saw an old friend in the waiting room and had a great time getting caught up on families.
10. A good meal on Tuesday makes for terrific leftovers on Thursday.
11. A bowl of fresh fruit topped with raspberry sherbet makes a wonderful dessert.
12 We’ll be glad with the new programs on USA and TNT start up over the next couple of weeks.
13. There are lots of NCIS episodes in the meantime.

Early morning, Tombigbee River

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Routine, but better

It was more of a routine day today. It surely did feel good to get back into the pool and get moving around. And it was good to get to painting.

But maybe the best part of the day was after that. The wonderful BBQ wagon we found last year (Mz Tee’s BBQ & More) is back at least for this summer. I stopped by on my way home from painting and picked up a slab of ribs, a cup of sauce, and some coleslaw.

The ribs were fabulous! Tina came over to share with us and we ate out on the porch. Ribs, baked beans, corn on the cob, coleslaw, tomato slices, dinner music provided by the birds. What a great evening! We’ll definitely pick up ribs again during the summer.


Even bridge approach structures can be artistic.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


The pictures I’ve been posting are from our trip in April with Blount Small Ship Adventures. It was a great trip, and I’ve posted about it before.

Sato has asked in his comments about the pictures and about the names of the rivers. Sometimes in the Southeast US, it’s hard to tell. There are lots of rivers. They are twisty.

Two or three named rivers will come together to form a larger one. The Alabama and the Tombigbee flowing south come together to form the Mobile which flows into Mobile Bay. Closer to home, the Holston and the French Broad Rivers come together in Knoxville to form the Tennessee River. The Tennessee flows south, then west, then north, ultimately emptying into the Ohio, which flows into the Mississippi, and then to the Gulf of Mexico.

And many these rivers are dammed, forming series of lakes. So sometimes it’s hard to put a name to exactly where you are at any given time.

Today’s photo is a bridge on, I think, the Tombigbee River between the cities of Mobile and Demopolis, AL.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mute Monday

Barge Traffic along the river

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day

We honor them all,
The heroes who gave their lives
For us, for country.

Fresh vegetables - for better or worse.

I went to a farmer's market at a local church and the commercial fruit stand this morning. I picked up some beets with tops, fresh romaine, teeny potatoes, strawberries, little yellow squash, some pole beans, and a couple of tomatoes. Looks so good. I'm going to have a yummy salad for lunch.


That’s what I wrote this morning - then nothing seemed to go right with the goodies. The salad was good. I fixed the beans and put them on to cook. Then, of course, I dozed off, and they burned. I was going to roast the beets and cook the greens. The beets didn’t work - I don’t know what I expected, but they didn’t seem to get done - or look even remotely edible. The greens were okay, but nothing special.

The teeny potatoes were very good. I cooked them in the oven with a pesto of fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and salt & pepper. And the pork chop I pan fried was delicious - how can you go wrong with that - although today it might have been a possibility.

I didn’t cook the squash - probably a good thing. And the strawberries I sampled were good. They’ll be good on our waffles in the morning.

So much for my fresh-vegetable-weekend.

The view up the Mobile River

Friday, May 24, 2013


It’s been an almost perfect spring day - high of 75, low near 50. And they’re predicting more of the same, only a bit warmer for the next week. I hope the rest of the country can avoid severe weather for a while, too.


A little get-away place along the Mobile River.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Almost silent Thursday

More pictures of the stay-cable bridge, Mobile River
TV note: 
Longmire is coming back. New episodes start Monday, 27 May, 10 p.m. EDT, on A&E.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday - whew!

I had full day today - even without going to swimming.

After coffee, I loaded up the car and went to painting. I’m not sure how inspired I was/am, but I did get some work done on the pieces I’ve been flogging for a while now. And they do seem to be showing some progress. Who knows, I may wind up with something eventually. I enjoy being with the group, and if I persevere, they may continue to inspire me to paint.

After class, I got my nails done again. They really do look better than they ever have in my life. I’ll continue to enjoy the gel nails for a while.
Ooky update: My toenail finally came off today - with a little bit of help. I’m sure the whole thing will heal better and more quickly now. Now to see what happens as the new nail grows out.
Stay-cable bridge, Mobile River

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mother Nature is a tough lady!

The natural disasters seem to be getting under way with a vengeance this year. Just a month ago, an earthquake in China killed 192 and injured over 11,000 people.

Now the awful photos from Moore, with the death, injuries and widespread devastation resulting from this tornado.

2013 is looking to be tough time.

Children, the children.
It’s always hardest losing
Children. Our hearts weep.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Obsessive? not me (at least not usually)

I can’t believe I lay awake in the bed from 2-3 a.m. this morning, working on an answer to the picture/word game that had had me stumped for three days. Then another hour in the chair working on it. At least I finally came up with the answer, but DAMN! Is that obsessive or what?!?

The cards at bridge were at least good enough to keep me from dozing off this afternoon. Now we’ll see if tonight’s TV is good enough to keep me awake. We are going to record American Masters on PBS - it’s Mel Brooks, and we wouldn’t want to miss that.
Mobile Bay industry

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sloppy Sunday

Flash and crash and splash!
Almost three inches of rain.
Flash and crash and splash!
Our ship, the Grand Caribe

Saturday, May 18, 2013

No drama

Another day with no drama - hooray!

I went to the yarn store. I had a pattern and no yarn, and some yarn with no pattern. I managed to solve both problems, so I have a couple of new projects. I had a pattern that I’ve been wanting to make for myself, a swingy vest, with detailed back. I got some really pretty ivory colored silk/cotton blend yarn for that. Tina gave me some pretty pale green alpaca/silk yarn, and I was looking for something to do with that. I did finally find a short-sleeved jacket sweater.

When I got home, I had a text that Sue and Randy were coming by. Randy was coming up for his 40th high school reunion, and Sue came along for the ride. They got here in time for lunch, so we had a nice visit and got caught up on their news and what the kids were doing.

We went out for an elegant dining experience this evening - Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I’ve been so hungry for a good hamburger, so this was the night.

The toenail still hasn’t come off, and still doesn’t hurt, so no news there. And that’s pretty much it for the day.
Bellingrath Gardens



Wanted boring day.
Got it. Just coffee. Tina
Came by. Had supper.
Japanese Garden, Bellingrath Gardens

Thursday, May 16, 2013


This morning, I got my package sent off, and had my massage. She said she had a really hard time trying to get the kinks out of my back. Imagine that! 

At the walk-in clinic at the doc’s office, the PA looked at my toe and said to pretty much leave it alone. The nail will undoubtedly fall off or get pushed off by the new one growing out, and in the meantime, it is protecting the nail bed. Made sense to me. So I’ll keep it covered and clean. I can shower normally, but no swimming for a week. And, of course, no pedicures for a while. He gave a prescription for some preventative antibiotics, but I think I’m going to skip getting that filled. I really hate taking antibiotics unless absolutely necessary, so I’ll just go with cleanliness and see how that works.
Japanese Garden, Bellingrath Gardens

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The worst enemy

Our day got off to an exciting start.

When our alarm went off this morning, I realized that John had moved into the other room. I was going to ask if he was still going to the Y, but in the dark, I didn’t notice the door was closed. Oops! I walked smack into the door, including jamming my foot underneath it. And, managing to almost rip the nail off my big toe. I knew it hurt, but didn’t realize the damage I’d done until I noticed all the blood…all over everywhere. We finally managed to get the bleeding stopped and John got all the mess cleaned up. I was going to go to the walk-in care with the PA at our doc’s office, but today is his day off. I decided to just bandage it and leave it alone and let the nail fall off by itself…which it will. I may decide differently tomorrow. Anyhow, I took a pain pill right away, and it really hasn’t hurt much. As usual, I’m my own worst enemy.

John took me on to painting, and I actually did a little work on a piece. So that was a good thing.
After he picked me up, he took me back to the doctor .  This time, the tech was able to do the stick  without any problems. He had to use a vein in the back of my hand, but again, I hardly felt the needle.

Just another day in Mary's world. 
Japanese Garden, Bellingrath Gardens

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Busy Tuesday

Lots of stuff going on today, some of it frustrating at times. I had a number of errands to run. I got a small dividend check cashed, then went to the UPS store to ship a box to my niece in CA. There was a line, and the clerk said it’d take a while. I couldn’t take the time to wait, because I was headed for a doctor’s appointment, so I’ll have to do the package tomorrow (I hope).

I got to the rheumatologist, and things are going pretty well in that department. My general aches and pains haven‘t been too bad, but I did have a bit of Reynaud’s in my fingers when I went in. He reminded me that the trick there is to avoid letting my fingers getting cold. Today was supposed to be a blood draw visit, but after three sticks, two techs couldn’t get any blood (even though they found veins). Presumably, I haven’t been drinking enough water. At least they were using the butterfly needles, so I hardly felt a thing. I’ll be in near the office tomorrow for art class, so I’ll drink lots of water today and go back tomorrow afternoon so they can try again.

And then I finished up the morning with my very favorite things - Aldi and WalMart. I finally got home to get some lunch. I had a late appointment to go back to the optometrist to adjust the fitting of my new glasses. One of the nose pads needs repositioning, and I wouldn’t try to do that myself. I couldn’t get into my soft clothes fast enough when I got home from that.

This evening, I had another conversation with Sato. He’s a gentleman in Japan whom I met on Seniors & Friends. He was interested in talking on Skype with some folks in the U.S. I was happy to do that, and we have talked several times. He’s a terrific photographer and videographer. Here’s a link to some of his vimeos. Enjoy.

Japanese Garden, Bellingrath Gardens

Monday, May 13, 2013


This is definitely not a cooking blog, but last week I made up a recipe I got out of the newspaper some months ago.  It is SO good and SO easy that I wanted to share.

3 cups sour cream

1 (4-oz) can chopped green chilies

2 cups raw Jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions (should yield at least 4 cups cooked rice)

Salt and pepper (liberal amounts)

¾ pound or more Monterey Jack cheese, grated

    Heat oven to 350F.
    Mix sour cream and peppers in a bowl. Season Jasmine rice with salt and pepper. Put a layer of rice in the bottom of a greased 1 ½ quart casserole, then a layer of sour cream/chilies, and a layer of cheese. Add a second layer of rice, sour cream/chilies. The top layer should be cheese, but don’t put it on until the dish is half-baked.
    Bake in preheated oven, topped loosely with foil, for 15-20 minutes. Remove foil, add top layer of cheese, and continue to bake until cheese is bubbly.

This dish may be prepared in advance, refrigerated and brought to room temperature before baking.
Bellingrath Gardens

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all those who are mothers or do any mothering of any sort.

It's been a very quiet weekend around here, so I'll stay quiet, too.
Cyclamen, Bellingrath Gardens

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Silent Saturday

Bellingrath Gardens

Friday Haiku

Swimming, coffee, nap.
Stove works, blueberry muffins.
Friends’ homemade pizza.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Thursday's news

They've just announced our new women's basketball coach. Quite a surprise, but a good one. It's to be Jim Foster. He's most recently been at Ohio State, but coached at Vanderbilt for a long time. He's one of the good coaches, so we're pleased. UTC just hired a new AD, and the first things on his plate were to hire new coaches for both teams. So far, so good.


We did a “day trip” today. Jean’s friend, Jamie, is building a new house in a secluded, rural (horse-permitting) development about 2 1/2 hours from here. It’s a timber-framed house, and the timbers were set yesterday. We couldn’t get there to see that happen, so we drove up today to visit and check out the new house. It’s in a gorgeous setting, and she’s taking good advantage of the views. We took them out to lunch, and then drove back home. The weather was gorgeous, and it made for a fun day. We got home about 5, and just snacked for supper.

The timber framing
The view from the master bedroom

A beautiful day

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


A good night’s sleep can work wonders. I slept until John woke me up at 7. He was leaving to go to the Y, and I needed to get ready for the stove installers.

They said they would be here between 8 and 10. I heard the truck door at 8:30. They took out the old stove, installed and tested the new one, and were gone before 9. Kudos to Sears!

With the new stove, I got my rice and green chilies casserole heated, and went to the recipe shower/luncheon for Renna’s granddaughter. We certainly are good cooks. All the dishes were so good and, of course, a good time was had by all. I even brought home a plate for John and enough leftovers for supper tomorrow night.

A 2-hour nap pretty much completed the day for me.
Bellingrath Gardens

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


Not the best of days for me today. Last night was one of those nights when I don’t sleep. Usually, when it happens, I finally get to sleep about 2, but this time it was nearly 5 am. I woke up at 8, and got to the grocery store. 

I went to the optometrist to pick up my new glasses. They must be really right - they were totally comfortable from the time I put them on.

I even assembled the dish that I’m taking to the bridal-recipe-shower/luncheon for Renna’s granddaughter tomorrow. The best part of that is that my new stove is being delivered between 8-10 a.m., so I’ll be able to get it cooked here at home.

To my surprise, there was not even a little nap today, so it’ll surely be an early night for me tonight.
Delphinium, Bellingrath Gardens

Monday, May 06, 2013

Monday, - the week begins

The rain’s finally tapering off - after only about 5” this weekend. I feel pretty safe in saying this area is not in a drought situation any more. At least the pollen count is down almost into normal range, so that’s one benefit. We’ll still be having flood warnings for a few more days.

The cards were about the usual this afternoon. I had one huge hand, but didn’t get the bid. I doubled their bid and got lots more points that way. Defense can be fun sometimes.

Lots of different stuff going on this week. I’m going to be picking up my new glasses tomorrow. Wednesday is John’s physical exam, I’m going to a bridal shower luncheon, and the new stove is supposed to be delivered and installed. Thursday, we’re planning to take a day trip to Jamestown, TN, to see Jean, her friend Jamie, and Jamie’s under-construction house. Friday, we’re going to Carol & Stephen’s for pizza.

It’s a busy week coming up, and it’s good to get us out of the house.


Hydrangea, Bellingrath Gardens

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Sunday in haiku

Rain, rain, nearly five
Inches. Sunshine, drying out.
Light’ning, thunder, rain.

Considered building
An ark. But we got Roku,
Watched West Wing streaming.
Bellingrath Gardens


Saturday, May 04, 2013

Sunday Stealing - The Wish List Meme, Part 2

26.) If you had to order from a kid's menu, what would you get?

Probably a hot dog, with chili and onions, maybe chicken nuggets.

27.) Do you speak any other languages?
Not “speak”. I’ve taken French and Spanish, and could probably get by (menus, etc.), but not carry on a conversation.

28.) Do you use Twitter?

29.) Do you go onto YouTube?

30.) Do you play Angry Birds?

31.) Do you like theme parties?
Absolutely not!

32.) Do you like current cartoons?
I’m not sure what this means. Editorial cartoons? Some of them. The funny papers? Some of them. Animated movies? We’ve seen a few and liked them. Animated TV shows? Don’t watch any of them.

33.) Have you ever cried because you were so happy?
Absolutely. We all tend to cry for any given reason.

34.) Who would you like to see in concert?
Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Winton Marsalis, Jimmy Buffett (but not all at the same time - although they’d probably have fun)

35.) Can you swim well?
I used to swim better than I do now - no stamina. But I’m very comfortable in the water.

36.) Ever won a contest?
I’ve won awards in photo contests, but don’t remember the ranking. No prizes, just bragging rights.

37.) Ever won a giveaway?
Yes, I won a drawing for a set of end tables (probably 40 years ago) and we still have and use them.

38.) Do you get a full 8 hours of sleep every night?
Sometimes, more often 6-7, and sometimes an afternoon nap.

39.) What tea do you like?
Iced, unsweetened with lemon.

40.) What mixed drink do you like?
I don’t drink alcoholic drinks any more.

41.) Do you shop at Walmart?
It’s my main store. I’m there once a week.

42.) Do you shop at Target?

43.) What do you order at your local coffee shop?
A half-caff latte.

44.) Do you drink bottled or tap water?
Tap water. If I carry a bottle of water, it’s usually one I’ve filled from the tap.

45.) Do you like homemade meals?
That’s my preference. But I also prefer it when somebody else does the cooking.

46.) Do you like homemade baked goods?
Well, of course! Who doesn’t.

47.) Do you shop online?

48.) Name 3 stores online stores you would like to shop at:
KnitPicks, LLBean, Amazon

49.) What holiday don't you like?
We don’t do much with any holiday. Since we’re retired, holidays don’t mean time off from work. Mostly we just ignore all of them. They’ve all gotten too commercialized.

50.) What do you eat more when you're sick?
That’s one of the few times I tend to eat less. Mostly I stick to liquids and ice cream. But then ice cream is good for everything that ails you.
Bellingrath Gardens, Theodore, AL


Friday, May 03, 2013

A good Friday

Just the usual morning, then this evening, we went to a reception for a solo show of my painting instructor's work.

  Click here to see her web site.

We had arranged to meet up with John's rowing partner and her husband there and then go out for dinner. We hadn't seen them in several months, so it was fun to get caught up. The art was great, the dinner was good, and the company was terrific. Plus, we were home before dark.

Our forecast is getting possibly another 4" of rain over the weekend, so we probably won't be doing much else.
A lift bridge outside of New Orleans.

Thursday, May 02, 2013


First things first - I got my massage. Again, Barbara told me my neck and shoulders were in knots. I don’t realized the muscles are that tight until she starts working on them. She really does a good job on them.

I went to finalize buying the stove. I did get the sale Kenmore from Sears. As I’ve said, it a low-middle model, but it has the main things I wanted. It’s due to be delivered next Wednesday.

Our back yard is so busy at this time of years. The birds are going nuts, now that it’s nesting season. Not only are they singing their hearts out, but they’ve really turned up the colors in their plumage. The cardinals are amazingly red; the blue jays are electric; the lowly purple finches are purple all over, not just their heads. But our special visitors, in their fancy suits, arrived today - the rose-breasted grosbeaks. They only stay a couple of days, but the color is spectacular.

This evening, we went to a talk at the Hunter Museum by sculptor, Albert Paley. He did the 1975 fence around the sculpture terrace at the museum, and it’s still a signature piece of the museum. It interesting to see slides of his work and to hear him talk about the process and the pieces.

Of course, we went out to eat afterwards at La Altena - always such great food!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

An expensive week

I went to a few more places to look at stoves today, and have decided on a Kenmore from Sears. It’s a low-middle model, but had the main things I wanted (4 burners, self-cleaning, sealed burners, storage drawer, white) and is on sale.

I guess with new glasses ordered yesterday, this is working out to be an expensive week. Oh, well…


Bellingrath Gardens, Theodore, AL.