Friday, August 23, 2013

Short hiatus.

We're in California, visiting John's sister and brother-in-law.  Not as much time or access to write, so postings will be spotty (at best).  Keep checking, and I'll write when I can.  See you regularly in about 10 days.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ken Quin (1945-2013)

Ken lost his battle with salivary gland cancer this morning. My cousin was one of the really good guys - not a surprise for Betsy’s son. His son, Chris, took such good care of him through the whole process.

Ken and I didn’t have much contact until the last few years of Betsy’s life, but we found ourselves becoming good friends. It’s special when relatives can also be friends. I’m just sorry that we didn’t have longer to have our friendship grow.

RIP, Ken - we’re already missing you.


John, Margaret, Sarah, Mary, Ken

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday's new toys

The grocery trips were very brief today - since we’re heading out of town. But that gave me time to go to the knit store for some advice on the size and gauge of the next sweater. They’re wonderfully helpful.

My new camera came in the mail today. It’s a refurbished Nikon Coolpix S9300, that I got from Woot. The price was just too good to pass up. I’d been thinking about getting a point-and-shoot. I really hate to give up my Canon EOS Rebel, but I’m just having too much trouble holding it. This Nikon doesn’t have a viewfinder and that’s going to cause me some learning problems, but I’m going to work with it.

I’ve gotten most of it figured out, with just one hitch. We (John tried, too) can’t figure out how to download the pictures into my laptop. We can get them into John’s desktop - both ones stored in the camera’s interior memory and ones on the removable memory card, using either the USB cord or the card reader, just won’t go into my laptop. Oh, well - that’s not insurmountable, and we’ll have to deal with it when we get home.


From an overlook on the Foothills Parkway (John’s Nikon SLR)

Monday Miscellany

Two exercise classes and bridge. Mondays are long. The cards were a mixed bag. But it is nice to have some good hands.
Mondays usually call for eating out or leftovers. Tonight it was KFC - always a good choice.
Jean says the Sensuous Steel exhibit of Art Deco design cars at the Frist Center in Nashville is fabulous. Go see it if you have a chance.
Allan is recuperating well from his serious surgery. Decisions about further treatment are yet to be made.
Ken is back in ICU - still in critical condition.
Hugs and support for all the caregivers out there.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mostly silent Sunday

August birthdays!  Happy day to Jean (3) and Sue (19).  Much love!

These folks weren't silent while rafting on the Nantahala River in NC.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sunday Stealing

Let Me Give Your Heart A Break Meme

Do you prefer a lot of ice in your drinks or just a little bit of ice?
Lots of ice

Which condiment (ketchup, mustard, etc.) do you use the most of?
Mustard and mayonnaise

Does war scare you?
I think war is a terrible thing any time, any place. But I don’t obsess about it.

Do you know any songs that are older than you are?
Lots of them.

Are you comfortable sharing drinks with your friends?

What season were you born in?

Have you ever spent over $100.00 on an article of clothing? What was it?
Yes. I just got a good pair of walking-type shoes.

Do you think you’re too hard on yourself sometimes?
Probably sometimes. Probably not hard enough at other times.

What pizza place do you usually order from?
We don’t usually order pizza, but lately it’s been from Papa Murphy. I don’t buy from Domino because the owners are major donors to anti-abortion organizations. And I don’t buy Papa John because he threatened to cut his employees’ hours if he had to provide insurance coverage for them.

Honestly, have you ever mooned or flashed somebody?

Do you have a least favorite color?
Not really. I don’t look good in olive green or khaki, so I don’t wear those colors.

Honestly, have you ever written something on a bathroom stall?

Who do you consider to be the king of pop?
Frank Sinatra - I am old, you know.

Do you know all of the words to any children’s song?
Certainly. Any parent does.

Can you name 3 purple foods? 
Eggplant, plums, grapes

When was the last time you made a pinky promise?
I can’t remember if I ever did.

What celebrity do you wish would have a big comeback?
The only ones I’d like to see have comebacks are dead.

Do you think your parents know things about you that you don’t want them to?
I’m sure they did.

Have you ever walked into a spider web?
Yes - yuck.

What grocery store do you usually get your food from?
WalMart and Aldi, sometimes Publix and Costco

What would be your happily ever after?
Views on this change with age, of course. Now, it would be to remain lucid, healthy, and independent for as long as possible.

When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people?
A couple of weeks ago, but just briefly.

Who is the worst driver you know?
John’s dad, when he was heading into dementia.

How about the best driver?
I don’t know that I can name a “best”.

Are you shorter or taller than most of your friends?
I used to be taller, but now about the same.

Do you know anybody who was born on a holiday?
My niece was born on Christmas Day. One grandson was born on Elvis’s birthday (does that count?).

What is one thing you really don’t like sharing?
I don’t guess I’d like to share my toothbrush.

Have you ever been hit on through text message?
Much too old for that.

What was the last junk food you ate?
I’m not much of a junk foodie - can’t think of anything.

Do you prefer sweet or sour candy?

What was the last alcoholic beverage you consumed?
It’s been so long ago, I don’t remember

Currently waiting on something/someone?
Waiting on loved ones to get out of hospitals.

What was the last thing you watched on television?
Local news.

How old will you be in 12 months?

Do you sleep naked?

Have you ever held hands with someone in a car?
Of course

Could you go the rest of your life without smoking a cigarette?
Yes - haven’t smoked in about 35 years.

What do you say during awkward silences?
By definition, it’s silent.

When will you next see the last person you texted?
When she gets back into town.

Honestly, when is the last time you have been to Texas?
I grew up in Texas, and still have family there. Last time for a wedding in 2012.
From the Blue Ridge Parkway

Friday, August 16, 2013

One day past

Both of our loved ones have made it through their surgeries.  They're still not out of the woods, but have made it over this hurdle.

Thanks for all the good thoughts.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tough times

Old friend, lung cancer.
Non-smoker. Rare type, severe.
Surgery Friday.
Lung resection planned.
Good thoughts, mojo requested
For a good outcome.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

More electronics

Our swim group went to "tea" at a local tea room today. We met at 1:30 - sort of a late lunch. I had a bowl of leek/potato soup and a crusty roll, which was very good. It's a fun thing to do.

Yesterday, we were going to watch our learning course (on DVD), and the DVD player had bitten the dust. It was working fine the day before, but just wouldn't do anything yesterday - no lights either. John hates to think there anything electrical that he can't fix, but he's beginning to realize that these new things have obsolescence built in, and they just aren't made to be repaired. So he went to get a new player. We have figured out how to use the On Demand feature on the TV to watch programs we would usually record, so we'll just get a player this time. The player works fine - figuring out our cumbersome On Demand is going to take more doing.


Foothills Parkway, Tennessee

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nasty stuff

John had a virus or something on his desktop computer. Anytime he turned it on, he got a popup that says he needed to buy their security protection - and it wouldn't let him do anything else. We tried to do a system restore, but it wouldn't let him do that, either. Admittedly, he had inadvertently let his Norton protection expire, and this bug got it.

One of the SeniorLearn techies suggested that this might be one of the newer malware nasties that is going around. It is called Ransomware.

This afternoon, he got a virus removal and protection program from Staples (easytech), and the cleaning was done over the telephone. The program is good for clearing three computers, so we'll do my laptop, too. 
And just for Harriet, here is some more mountain laurel.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Just stuff

Usual Monday stuff around here today. I had a couple of really good hands at bridge this afternoon, but also a couple of Yarboroughs (no cards higher than 10). This evening we had a really wild thunderstorm cell go over. Lots of thunder and hard rain (about 3/4"), power out for a minute (enough so we had to reset all the clocks). Just stuff.
Updates: My friend who had back surgery did great, and is walking to get her strength back. 

Our friend who is fighting lung cancer has started chemotherapy and has been admitted to the hospital in NYC.
Mountain Laurel on the Foothills Parkway, Tennessee

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Crepe myrtle

It's the time of year in this area when crepe myrtle blooms.  John planted one several years ago, and he has tended it lovingly.  It blooms later than some of others around here and is small, but it is gorgeous.  He got out this afternoon to take pictures before the rain.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sunday stealing (from a couple of weeks ago)

Massive Alphabet Meme, part two

The Letter N
Do you have a nickname?
No (other than Mom or Grandma or GrandMary)

What is your favorite number?
I don’t have one

Do you prefer night or day?
I guess daytime. Then I can do things if the power goes out.

The Letter O
What is your one wish?
Is world peace too corny? I truly wish people could get along and not divide into “us” and “them”.

Are you an only child?
No. I had an older sister. She died in 1996.

Do you wish this year was over?
At this time of my life, I don’t wish time to go faster than it already does.

The Letter P
What is one fear that you are most paranoid about?
I wouldn’t say paranoid. I think we’re all afraid of outliving our mind, our health and our money

What personality trait would you look for in someone you wanted to date?
A sense of humor and a concern for the world outside himself.

The Letter Q
Are you quick to judge people?
I don’t think so.

The Letter R
Do you think you are always right?
Well, of course!

Do you watch reality T.V.?
Yuck, no! And there’s nothing “real” about it.

What is a good reason to cry?
Being happy, being sad, being emotional about anything.

The Letter S
Do you prefer sun or rain?
I wouldn’t like 100% of either one.

Do you like snow?
No, except in photographs. I’ve lived in the south for too long

What is your favorite season?
Spring and fall

The Letter T
What time is it?
10:30 p.m.

What time did you wake up?
7:30 a.m.

When was the last time you slept in a tent?
In the mid 1990s.

The Letter U
Are you wearing underwear?

Do you open your eyes when under water?
Sometimes - preferably not in salt water

The Letter V
What is the worst veggie?
I like most vegetables, but I can’t eat bell peppers (green, red, or yellow)

Where do you want to go on vacation?
Almost anywhere and everywhere

What was your last family vacation together?
Over the 4 July week

The Letter W
What is your worst habit?
Eating too much and not getting enough exercise

Where do you live?

The Letter X
Have you ever had an X-ray?
Lots and lots

Have you ever seen the X-Games?
I guess not

Do you own or have you ever played a xylophone?

The Letter Y
Do you like the color yellow?
It doesn’t much like me. Otherwise it’s okay.

What year were you born in?

What do you yearn for most?
I’d like to see our grandchildren all settled and content.

The Letter Z
What is your Zodiac Sign?

Do you believe in the Zodiac?
I believe there is such a thing. Do I think it has any effect on anything? No

What is your favorite zoo animal?
I’ve gotten to where I hate seeing the animals penned up, but I do like having a chance to see giraffes and elephants.

Saturday haiku

Nothing to write is
Boring and dull. Off and on
Rain squalls keep it cool.
Too many loved ones
Having surgery, fighting
Cancer. Hard for them.


Thursday, August 08, 2013

Summer pop-up squalls

We drove about an hour to one of our loveliest state parks yesterday to have lunch with our friends who were camping there. They've got a new (to them) RV and are still doing not-too-far-away learning trips. It was a fun visit, hot dogs for lunch. John did have to drive through intermittent rain squalls. On the way home, two of them were all but blinding, even with the wipers going at full speed. Fortunately we got through the fairly quickly, except for the last one. We sat in the car in the driveway for about 5 minutes waiting for it to slack off a bit before I went in the house (even with an umbrella).

We had more rain today, with a total of 1.8” for two days. And more of the same pop-up squalls predicted for the rest of the week. Welcome to summer!

The floods in Nashville (7" overnight) literally floated some buildings in a small strip center off their foundations - the one where our girls’ pediatrician had his office. Wow!

I love dandelions.  They're always so cheery.


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

From the parking lot at Clingman's Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Two friends with health issues

An internet friend in South Carolina was scheduled for back surgery this morning. Her husband was supposed to e-mail her internet community, but we haven’t heard from him so far. We hope he’s just forgotten, and that all has gone well.

A friend locally has been diagnosed with a rare type of lung cancer. He was sent to Sloan-Kettering in New York for comprehensive testing, prognosis, and setting up a treatment plan.

Lots of good thoughts going out to these friends.


Trees, clouds and sky along the Blue Ridge Parkway.


Monday, August 05, 2013

More Monday

Monday is usually the only day that is busy all day long. Today was no different - not that it’s anything so exciting.

Other than having to set the alarm clock for 6 a.m. to get up for the swim class, it’s not all that hard. Both of the morning classes are for my own good. The swimming is really for pleasure, while the other exercise class is just to keep me moving on land.

The afternoon of bridge is for pleasure, too, with the added benefit of keeping my brain active. Unfortunately, today wasn’t that much of a challenge. I had really awful cards. Oh, well - this will eventually pass.


A photo taken along the Blue Ridge Parkway with the hand-me-down little camera that Jean gave me.


Sunday, August 04, 2013

Baking the Crusty Bread

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a recipe for Crusty Bread.

Well, I made it this morning. I mixed it up last night, as directed in the recipe. Then I baked it this morning. It is SO good and incredibly easy. John commented that he had always thought that there were more steps involved in bread baking. But this is literally just a measuring, mixing, waiting overnight, and then baking.

If you have a cast-iron pot with a lid, give it a try.

This is the mixed-up lump of dough, dumped out on the floured surface.

This is the baked loaf.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Massive Alphabet Meme, Part 1

Taken last week from Sunday Stealing:

Massive Alphabet Meme, part one

The Letter A
Are you agnostic?
      Or atheist - take your pick
What is your age?
What annoys you?
        Bad grammar; the current refusal of our legislators to cooperate and legislate

The Letter B
Do you like bacon?
         Of course!
When is your birthday?
          16 March
Who is your best friend?

The Letter C
What is your favorite candy?
        Licorice, dark chocolate
Who is your crush?
         I’m much too old to have a crush.
When was the last time you cried?
         I’m a pretty good cryer (crier?). I can’t remember the last time I teared up.

The Letter D
Do you daydream?
         I don’t think so.
What is your favorite kind of dog?
         First choice is somebody else’s; second would be a mutt rescue dog.
What day of the week is it?

The Letter E
How do you like your eggs?
        Any way but raw  (I love eggs).
Have you ever been in the emergency room?
        Way too many times, including two ambulance rides, and one with a police escort
What’s the easiest thing to ever do?
          I can’t think of a suitable answer for this one

The Letter F
Have you ever flown in a plane?
         Many times, and will be doing so again in a couple of weeks
Do you use fly swatters?
         Definitely - when there’s a fly to be swatted.
Have you ever used a foghorn?
          Nope.  I've been on a boat when one was necessary.

The Letter G
Do you chew gum?
           No. I think it’s nasty and people who are chewing gum look most unattractive.
Ever tried gazpacho?
          Yes, and it’s okay, but I like ceviche better.
Are you a giver or taker?
          I think I’m a giver, but I’ll generally take something that is offered.

The Letter H
How are you?
         Pretty good for my age and condition.
What’s your height?
          I used to be 5’7 ½”, but last time I was measured I was 5’5 ¾”.
What color is your hair?
          Grey and white (dark brown originally)

The Letter I
What is your favorite ice-cream?
           Almost anything, but usually vanilla or butter brickle
Have you ever ice-skated?
            Yes, but….. Growing up in Houston, ice skating was not available, so I’ve only tried it once. Not a pretty sight.
Do you play an instrument?
              I took piano lessons as a child, but now a I can play a pretty mean CD player.

The Letter J
What is your favorite jelly bean?
             Definitely licorice. Jean has found sacks of all black jellybeans.
Do you wear jewelry?
              I always wear my wedding band, and usually earrings.
Have you heard a really hilarious joke?
              Sure, but I rarely remember them, and don’t tell jokes well.

The Letter K
Whom do you want to kill?
               Nobody, but there are a few folks I wouldn’t mind seeing off the planet.
Do you want kids?
              I wouldn’t take anything for our four daughters, but at 77, I don’t guess I’ll have any more.
Where did you go to kindergarten?
             I don’t remember kindergarten, but if I went, it was in St. Louis.

The Letter L
Are you laid-back?
          Pretty much
Do you lie?
           Only in the sense of “little white lies” when it’s polite to do so.
Do you love anyone?
           Oh my, yes!

The Letter M
What is your favorite movie?
           I love the old MGM musicals, To Kill a Mockingbird, Second Hand Lion
Do you still watch Disney movies?
           Not specifically
Do you like mangoes?
           They’re okay.

I just have to share Mike Keefe's cartoon from today's Tulsa World.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

English is a crazy language. (not new, but fun)

This has been around via e-mail more than once, but I always enjoy reading it.
I think a retired English teacher was bored.
Read all the way to the end.................
This took a lot of work to put together!

You think English is easy??

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

 Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig..

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick' ?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this ..There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'
It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends.

And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning..
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special..
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP,

for now my time is UP, is time to shut UP!
Which is the most Dangerous Letter in the Alphabet

Answer is  "W"...  It is a tension generator... All the worries get initiated with "W".