Thursday, October 31, 2013

At the beginning

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

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

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The end of the story

I’ll start with the end of the trip. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Home again

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Allan Geschwind (1943 - 2013)

R.I.P. Old friend.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pampering and then....

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday Miscellany

Light rain this morning, cool temperatures all day.

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I actually have finished a couple of things today.

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday stuff

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

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


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

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Silent Sunday

(not one of my photos, but very pretty)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sunday Stealing


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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 11, 2013

Good eats

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

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

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

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

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


Such a gorgeous color!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

String Theory

The 5th Season of the String Theory at the Hunter Museum started tonight.  The Brentano String Quartet led off the series with pieces by Mendelssohn and Dvorak.  Fabulous!  We are so lucky to have this series and get musicians of this caliber.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


It is so exciting to watch the International Space Station fly over your house.  It just sails up there so evenly and steadily.  And it's amazing to know that there are people in that little speck of light.

Click here to find when the ISS will be visible in your area (cloud cover permitting).  You can even sign up and get e-mail notifications as to when it will be in your neighborhood.

(This is not one of our photographs and not in Tennessee - taken from Google Images)

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Tuesday haiku

Two parties today.
Saying farewell, swimming friend.
Hi, basketball coach.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Ruth Benerito (and other stuff)

My previously unknown heroine!

Ruth Benerito died today at age 97 in LA. Until today, I'd never heard of her or that she was one of my heroes. She invented permanent press. Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about ironing - and that I stopped ironing as soon as permanent press was invented and I could replace all our clothes. This previously unknown savior contributed a large benefit to my life. Click here for the Wikipedia site and click here for a Slate obituary about her.
Why do so many of the police procedural programs (the ones we watch regularly) feel they have to have a continuing psychopathic killer that goes on for many episodes and even seasons? These really turn me off and I’m about to stop watching them for that reason. These include Bones, The Mentalist, Person of Interest, and probably others. It looks like Bones might have finally gotten rid of the one on that problem, but who knows. Anyhow. I really wish they’d get rid of these story lines.
I spent a quick hour this morning at the oral surgeon’s getting an upper back tooth removed. I don’t remember much about it - love that light IV anesthesia plus an Atavan. I’ve been taking my pain meds, drinking milkshakes for nutrition, and sleeping. All that seems to be working well. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Happy Birthday, Margaret


Bridge (the game)

Harriet, I’m sorry you’ve had a bad experience playing bridge. It is one of the few (if not the only) card game where luck isn’t the determining factor. Yes, of course, you can’t do much if you don’t get good cards, but you also can’t win if you don’t make the most of the cards you have.

Contract is the “basic” bridge game, and is played by any group of four people, playing as two teams. It’s a game of communication, done within a set of rules. If there are two or more tables playing, the scores are based on what each pair can make on each deal, and no two deals will be the same throughout the playing time.

In duplicate bridge, the cards are dealt ahead of time and placed into racks (called boards), the hands are kept separate during play, and returned to the board after the hand is played. The boards will be passed around, so that each pair will play the same cards that other pairs have played. This way the scores are a reflection of how one pair does against another playing the same hand.

The rules of bidding and play are the same in each game, the differences are in the scoring and in the fact that pairs are all playing different hands in contract bridge, and playing the same hands in duplicate.

I hope that makes some sense. Again, Harriet, I’m sorry you’ve had less-than-optimum experiences. With your analytical mind, you ought to be a good player. And one learns by playing with people who are better players. We like to help less experienced players gain experience - it‘s the only way to get better. And, otherwise how do we get new players to play with.

Saturday, October 05, 2013


We played duplicate bridge tonight.  We had played once before, but it was probably at least 30 years ago.  This was a small (3 tables tonight), low-key group.  We knew about half the people there.  We came in a "close third" for the evening.  We bid and made a slam the first hand, so that was a nice beginning. It was a nice group, and I guess we'll be going back. 

Friday, October 04, 2013

From Wordsmith

One of my daily internet stops is A Word A Day from Wordsmith.  He picks a word, usually with a theme for the week, gives the pronunciation, derivation, and definition of the word.  Then the Wordsmith gives one or two quotes using the word.  He closes the page with a Thought for the Day.  The Thoughts are from a variety of sources and frequently are related to the news of the day.  His Thoughts for this week, in the wake of the government closure as a result of the radical right Republicans, were worth repeating.

Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself. -Elie Wiesel, writer, Nobel laureate (b. 1928)

A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It is a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity. -Jimmy Carter, 39th US President, Nobel laureate (b. 1924)

When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been murderers and tyrants, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it, always. -Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)

The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity -- much less dissent. -Gore Vidal, author (1925-2012)

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use. -Emily Post, author and columnist (1872-1960)


Thursday, October 03, 2013


Fall from Green's View, Sewanee, TN

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Chapter 2

Lowe’s sent the installer. He came this afternoon, and his first comment was that guys who work with the warranty always want to blame things on the installer. But he pressed on.

His comment was that the dishwasher had been installed the same way the previous one had been. The new one had worked for a year, and the old one had worked for a long time without the non-drainage problem. Now, for some reason, it was plugging up.

He made a new drainage path with the re-installation and said that this was probably the way it should’ve been done in the first place, but…..

Anyhow, it’s now supposed to work. I’m filling it up with dirty dishes and we shall see.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The saga of the dishwasher

I got a new dishwasher at Lowe’s in midSeptember last year - not a top of the line model, but not the bottom, either.

In August, it didn’t drain. We were just heading out of town, and John fiddled with it and got it to drain, so we let it go. Then, just at a year from the purchase date (but not the installation date), it quit draining again. This time I called Lowe’s to see about getting it fixed.

After several phone calls and five more days, Frigidaire agreed to do a service call under the one-year warranty. Hooray for Frigidaire! The appointment was made and the service guy came this afternoon.

He got the dishwasher out and rummaged around with its innards. And then told us that it wasn’t draining because…… It wasn’t installed properly!!!

He couldn’t fix it under the warranty because it wasn’t a problem with the machine, and he charged us only for the service call. John asked him to put in writing on the invoice that the problem had been with the installation. Then John called Lowe’s, told them about the problem, and asked what they were going to do to make it right. They’re to have an installer get in touch with us.

So in the meantime, I still don’t have a functional dishwasher. Stay tuned……