Saturday, November 30, 2013

Family, friendship, food, fun, flamingo

What a wonderful day!

Lots of work, getting all the food ready.  But the traditional Southern Thanksgiving meal is one of my favorites.  I do love turkey and dressing.

Even better is getting together with our family and friends to share our lives.  It's a special time.

And it's fun, getting an anonymous gift - a fun stocking for my chair-side flamingo.  Thanks to whoever brought it to me.

Friday, November 29, 2013


It’s been a busy day (but NO shopping).

Matt & Claire stopped by for a short visit on their way back to Atlanta. Then Margaret got here, and work started in earnest. We often had Margaret, Wayne, and me in the kitchen, doing various things and trying to stay out of each other’s way.

But, I think we’ve gotten everything ready for our turkey dinner tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Thanksgiving Lasagna

We’ve really had a good day. Jean wound up sleeping in the recliner. She’s still having a lot of chest pain, and sleeps a lot. She’s amazed at how easily she tires and how much she sleeps, but of course, she’s been (and still really is) quite sick, and it’ll take a while to get some stamina back.

Tina came over midafternoon. Sue, Randy, Paul and Sarah came by for a few minutes on their way home from Randy’s family. It was good to see them - if only briefly. The traditional lasagna was great - as usual. Kate and Wayne got here about an hour or so later. They had some lasagna, too, and then we were able to get stuff cleaned up. I got a motel room for K&W - figured there’d be more room for all of us then, and they’ve gone back there now. No telling what we’ll be doing tomorrow. Margaret will be coming over sometime to help getting ready for dinner on Saturday.

Otherwise, it’s just what Thanksgiving is for - a chance to be with family and friends.

Sue, Tina, Jean, John, Mary

John, Mary, Paul, Sarah, Sue, Jean, Randy

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving


Out of hospital,
Margaret picks up Jean. John
Brings her here to rest.
Holiday weekend,
Food, family, and friendship.
The important stuff.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Update for Tuesday

Jean's doing better, has left the ICU for a regular room. She might be able to leave the hospital. She sounds much better on the phone and says she feels a lot better. Some of the pneumonia is due to working conditions, (her building has just been completely renovated with all those new building fumes, etc., plus an ongoing problem with a nearby coworker who is always heavily perfumed), so I don't know what will come of that. Her supervisor is aware of all the problems, though, and they've been trying to find solutions. Leroy’s (her dog’s) previous “foster mom” is going to be taking care of him until after the holiday and she’s feeling better.

My grocery store trips were interesting today - especially done in the continuous, cold rain. I left my purse on the counter in Aldi, discovered it when I got to WalMart (in a great parking space) , then had to go back for it. Fortunately, it had been turned in and nothing missing. Back to WalMart (in a lousy parking space). Then as I was leaving, a guy came up in the parking lot and wanted to talk to me about my “Vote Democrat” bumper stickers - so there we stood, in the rain, chatting away. Oh, well. John got home right after I did, so he carried all the groceries in for me. But then I got my biweekly massage, and things looked better.

The rain has mostly stopped, the temperature if about 40, and it’s supposed to snow tonight. We’ve decided not to try to go to the Y early in the morning, so I just don't care what the weather does.


When the Thanksgiving preparations get you down, you can always count on Margaret and Helen to brighten your day. 

Monday, November 25, 2013


  1. Jean's in the hospital ICU.  The primary diagnosis is pneumonia (she's been sick for about four days), but in the ER, she had an extremely low blood pressure.  She was admitted and is being monitored and hydrated.  We hope she'll be on antibiotics and be able to go home tomorrow.  We're waiting and hoping for good things.
  2. We don't get winter weather until January or February.  But we're having temps with highs in the 40s, lows at or below freezing.  We've had 2+" of rain so far this evening, with lots more expected tomorrow, with lots of wind. 
  3. This is supposed to change to snow on Wednesday morning.  Nobody's talking yet about accumulation.
  4. The good thing about the weather is that I can use the overflow refrigerator (the back porch) for the Thanksgiving stuff.
  5. I still have to go to the grocery store tomorrow for the last stuff for the Thanksgiving dinner - rain or no rain.
  6. But then I have an appointment for a massage later.
  7. Mostly we just need for Jean to get out of the hospital and better, so somehow we can get her down here for more rest and recuperation and turkey.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Good basketball (at least for our teams)

UTC 80, Auburn 52!

So far we're UTC 3, the state of Alabama 0. Best game we've played so far this year.
And the Lady Vols beat Oakland, too.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sunday Stealing

Thanksgiving Meme

1. What do you have for breakfast on Thanksgiving?
        Usually sweet rolls or something like that - nothing “formal”.
2. Do you go to a Thanksgiving parade or watch one on TV?
         Not any more. The TV goes on only for football games.
3. Do you serve appetizers, lunch, or snacks during the day?
         There is food going on all day long. We usually have the “big” meal in the late afternoon. And this is on Thanksgiving Saturday.
4. What are the traditional favorites?
        Turkey and dressing, country ham, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauces, condiments, crudités.
5. What new recipes will you try this year?
          Nothing new this year.
6. What part of the meal do you never compromise?
          The dressing.
7. Who gets to carve the turkey?
          John carves the turkey.
8. Family style around the table or buffet style and everyone sits wherever there’s room?
          Buffet. We haven’t had a big enough table in years.
9. How many will be at your table this year?
           At last count, there were 15 - but that’s variable.
10. Once you're at the table, do you say grace or a toast or does everyone go around and say what they're thankful for?
           None of the above. It’s not that formal
11. Cranberry sauce… yay or nay?
            Definitely cranberry sauce - three kinds: the jellied cylinder, fresh cranberry/orange relish, cranberry chutney.
12. What time do you eat Thanksgiving Dinner?
            Saturday, usually about 4-5 p.m.
13. Three best pies for Thanksgiving dessert?
            Mincemeat, pumpkin, pecan, anything else somebody brings.
14. Do you have dessert right after the main meal or later on?
           Later on.
15. Favorite leftover?
          We love them all!

Friday, November 22, 2013

22 November 1963

All of us who were alive then remember what we were doing when we heard "the news".

I was a 27 year old housewife, at home with kids, watching a live local TV show, "Noon".  Of course, they broke into the show with the news Kennedy had been shot, then came back with the news that he had died.  After that, of course, the news was constant for the rest of the weekend. 

I wonder what our girls remember.  They were then 7, 6, 4 1/2, and 2. 

I remember where I was when Franklin Roosevelt died in 1945.  I was 9, at a neighborhood park.  I ran home to tell my mother.  I found her in tears - she had heard the news on the radio.

We don't forget those times.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Good Thursday

Costco and hot dogs.
Lady Mocs beat UAB.
Makes for a good day.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Surprising shipping containers

John called my attention to an article in the Business section of the paper this morning. It wasn’t something that I would’ve noticed - an article about shipping containers??? Really?

But it was really very interesting. Click here for the article, but I’ll quote the short article here.

Ever wonder how a wrist watch that traveled 8,000 miles can sell for $5? Or why it's cheaper to import a 200 pound headstone from China than from Georgia? The answer is not cheap foreign labor, but rather those ubiquitous steel boxes we see on the backs of hundreds of trucks each day rumbling down the interstate: the humble shipping container.

Known as intermodal or ISO containers, the standard steel shipping box has become so common that we hardly notice its presence on trains or trucks. But it is no exaggeration to suggest that this seemingly obvious method of transporting goods around the world has contributed more than any other single development to the explosion in global trade and commerce in the past half century.

Until the late 1950s, little had changed conceptually in the maritime shipping industry since the great Phoenician trading vessels plied the Mediterranean 3 millennia ago. Cargo was typically crated, then wheeled aboard ships down gang planks. Electrically powered cranes increased capacities and lightened the work, but the task of loading a ship remained painfully labor intensive and therefore costly.

Then in 1955, North Carolina trucking magnate Malcolm McLean had an inspiration: place an entire loaded truck trailer aboard ship, and then drive it away at the other end of the voyage. He purchased a steamship company and began refitting the vessels to carry the trailers with their wheels removed. Ultimately he realized the key was a common-size, detachable steel container that could be lifted directly from a truck to the ship, then unloaded directly to another truck bed. By the mid 1970s, intermodal shipping of containers by sea, rail, truck and even air transport had established a firm footing and changed the way the world does business.

Prior to the advent of intermodal container shipping, a freight vessel might spend up to 3 weeks in port being unloaded and reloaded for the next voyage. Today the typical time in port is 16 hours. A stevedoring crew in 1959 could load about 0.6 tons of cargo per man-hour of labor, compared with over 8,000 tons per man-hour today. Meanwhile, the cost of loading a transoceanic transport ship has plummeted from around $6 per ton before containerization to less than 16 cents per ton.

Like Henry Ford with his Model T, McLean understood the secret to success was standardization. Today, steel container sizes are few (typically 20 or 40 foot), number around 26 million units world-wide, and are governed by the International Standards Organization to insure that boxes from one company will stack neatly together with those of any other. McLean's first containership carried 58 boxes. Currently under construction is the Maersk Triple E, designed to carry 18,000 standard 20-foot units, roughly equivalent in capacity to a standard freight train 68 miles long.

It is no coincidence that global trade has expanded exponentially since McLean's simple but revolutionary idea. Without the intermodal shipping container, we almost certainly wouldn't have the Thanksgiving Day Doorbuster Sale.

Maybe it wasn't such a great idea after all.

Christopher A. Hopkins, CFA, is a vice president for Barnett & Co. Advisors

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How many countries?

One of the questions in a recent meme (which I decided not to complete) asked how many countries I had visited.  That particular question caught my eye, and I decided to make a list.  I'm amazed!

34 countries; 6 continents; 50 US states

St Vincent and the Grenadines
St. Lucia
Cayman Islands
The Czech Republic
New Zealand
Hong Kong (airport only)

Monday, November 18, 2013


We’re getting into the fall/winter routine, I guess. This means basketball. John and I went to the Lady Mocs game yesterday afternoon. Margaret was here when we got home, and she and John drove to Knoxville for the Lady Vols game. It did make for a long day - for him especially. Even worse, since the weather was awful, and they had an hour-long delay on I-75 due to a wreck. (At least, as they said, they weren’t part of the accident.)

Today was a more usual day, with the swim and exercise class for me, then coffee at Panera.

Bridge was awful. John had terrible cards, and mine were worse. The only good thing is know that that “worm” will eventually turn. We’ve signed up for an “advancing bridge” Road Scholar program at Jekyll Island in March. That should make for an interesting week.

Margaret brought us a couple of turkey thighs (they love turkey, but only the breast meat), and we had those with an acorn squash for dinner. The turkey whetted our appetite for Thanksgiving dinner, and I’m starting to gear up for that. Grocery stores tomorrow!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Basketball season

It's basketball season again!

Lady Mocs 76, Belmont 65

Lady Vols 87, Georgia Tech 76

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Good visiting

For a drizzly, overcast day, it was very nice.

After lunch, we went to visit John’s cousin, Robert. He and his new wife have just moved to the area from upstate New York. Loretta has family in the area. For whatever reason, it’s nice to have another branch of the family nearby.

Shortly after we got home, Tina came by. She brought her visitors, Melysa and her 14-month-old daughter, Violetta. The baby is a real cutie - a very active toddler, but not getting into things.

Good visiting all around.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thursday happens

I went to a luncheon and reevaluation for the Enhanced Fitness class today. Good food - and I guess I've improve some with the class. I don't know how much longer I'll continue to go - as least as long as it continues at the current time.

I went to Knoxville with Margaret and John to the Lady Vols/Lady Mocs ballgame. The score was tied at half-time, but the Lady Vols ramped up their game, and the Lady Mocs couldn’t keep up. The Lady Vols won 80-56.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Littleton, CO

I've already told you about spending the day in the Portland airport.

It was dark when we got to Denver, so we didn't really see anything when we got there.  We stayed in the guest apartment of the apartment building where John's cousin lives.  They have a great view from their apartment on the top floor.  This view is southwest with Pike's Peak showing up in the distance. 
The color in the courtyard of the building was spectacular.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Portland, OR (Addendum: Equal Rights)

The last full day of our trip was in Portland, OR.  We took the offered bus tour of Portland.  It is a lovely city, but the highlight of the trip was the stop in the Portland Rose Garden.  It was a chilly overcast day, but that actually made for better flower photography.  Late October is definitely not the peak of the rose-blooming season, but there were enough lovely blooms to keep us looking for a while.


To digress from our trip:  On first reading, the Chattanooga City Commission has passed (5-4) an ordinance that would give benefits to the "domestic partners" of city employees.  This would make Chattanooga the third city in Tennessee (after Collegedale and Knoxville) to give equal rights to the domestic partners of employees.  The commissioner from our district was one of those voting "for".  We're so proud of them!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Astoria, Oregon

Our next stop was Astoria, OR - almost to the mouth of the Columbia River as it empties into the Pacific Ocean. John and I opted to skip the formal tours. Instead we went by ourselves to the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

We had been to this museum on our 2003 trip this way. It’s an exceptional museum and we looked forward to visiting it again. The Queen of the West was moored right beside the museum, so it was just a short walk. The exhibits are terrific!


One neat addition was a damaged boat that had come from the Fukushima disaster in Japan. It had floated across the Pacific and washed up on the Oregon shore. The owner was identified from markings on the boat. He agreed to donate the boat to the Museum.

John later walked around the town of Astoria - a nice small maritime town. 


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mount St. Helens

Our next stop was the Port of Kalama, WA, for a short bus trip to Mount St. Helens. If you don’t remember the eruption in 1980, click here for a refresher. This was our third visit to the mountain and the recovery is always striking. We were first there in 1990 (our first trip to the Northwest). The second trip was on our trip with the camper following the Lewis and Clark Trail in 2003.

It’s an amazing place. I’m so glad we were able to see it again.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing

The What's What Meme

What is on your bed right now?
      Sheets, quilt, pillows.
What’s your favorite word or phrase?
       I don’t know - somebody else would have to tell me
What is the best ice cream flavor?
      Vanilla - then you can dress it up with additions
Did you wake up smiling this morning?

       I didn’t wake up smiling, but I do smile a lot.
Is there something in your life you used to have, and now miss?
       Special people, not things.
What major company would you like to work for?
        “Work” is a four-letter word. I’m not interested in working for anybody.
What time do you wake up on a typical morning?
          6 on MWF, with the alarm clock, for swimming. Until I wake up on the other days - usually about 7:30 or so.
What holiday makes you sad?
          No holiday makes me sad. We don’t pay much attention to holidays.
Where does a good night’s sleep rank on your priorities?
        Pretty high. I enjoy sleeping.
One song that makes you cry?
         I don’t have any songs that I’m that attached to.
How old was your mom when she had you?
When is the last time you went to the beach?
         Last summer at our family beach week.
What is the most random object around you?
         I’m not sure what this means. All our clutter is random to some extent, I guess, but it’s OUR clutter.
What is your favorite sushi?
         I’ve not had enough sushi to have a favorite. I do like it, though.
What food do you find disgusting?
         Liver, coconut, peanut butter
If you could have any type of dog in the world, what would it be?
         I don’t want another pet. Other people’s dogs are fine with me, as long as they’re not yappy, jumpy, demanding dogs.
What was the last meal that you made for yourself?
        Lunch today. I make most of our meals..
Is the hard drive on your computer full or getting close to being full?
        Probably not.
Are there any songs that you prefer the acoustic version over the regular version?

        I’m so out of it, I don’t know what’s meant by the “regular version”.


Lady Mocs 82, Alabama 70!

Per Sato's request, I took a photo at the ballgame tonight with my phone.  The team in white is the University of Tennessee Lady Mocs.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Continuing down the Columbia River

Our next stop was at Stevenson, WA. From there, our tour was to the beautiful Multnomah Falls in Oregon. This is a spectacular and easily accessible site along the Columbia River.

From there, we went to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. This was an unexpectedly interesting stop, telling the story of hatching salmon and trout for restocking the northwest rivers.

And, just for fun, here’s a photo of Al, Ann, John, and me. Anne took this on the upper deck of the Queen of the West.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Two days' worth

I went to the two exercises classes Monday morning. I can find it in my heart to hope that the second one ends soon (when the grant to pay for the instructors runs out), or at least changes to a Tuesday/Thursday class. We had bridge in the afternoon, and then the ballgame. Made for a long day.

We went to the first Lady Mocs basketball game Monday night - an exhibition game with Lee University (Cleveland, TN). Our gals were awful, and just barely won (46-44). They only hit 7 out of 20 free throws. Pitiful. We play Alabama on Friday, so the new coach has a lot to do in the next few days.

There was almost as much packed into this morning as in Monday. I went to one grocery store and got the country ham for Thanksgiving. I will only get a Clifty Farm ham (I've tried other brands and it's just not the same), and a friend told me about a sale at BI-LO for $1.99/pound. I went there to get it - then saw them at WalMart later for $2.48/pound. That made it even better.

However, I also had my 6-months appointment with the optometrist. And there was another "uh-oh!" That's two for this fall. There some loss in vision in my left (good) eye. He found it's due to a secondary cataract that has formed in the tissue left after the first cataract operation 8-10 years ago. He said all they have to do is laser a few spots and it's taken care of. I certainly hope so. Anyhow, that's set for 4 December, and the followup appointment is already set, too. Whew! that was fast.

I got home ready for a little bit of lunch and a nap. The regular Tuesday night TV finished off the day. I think I’ll rest up for the remainder of the week.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

The Dalles, Oregon

Our next stop was at The Dalles, OR. There were several possibilities of tours. I went to the Maryhill Museum on the Washington side of the river. It’s a very nice small museum, originally built to be a home. I didn’t take any pictures, this one came from Google Images.

John went to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Raptor Center. These pictures are from his visit there.

John took this one of me on the ship watching as he came back from a shore walk.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Sunday Stealing

From Sunday Stealing

1) Do you think Daylight Saving Time is still necessary?
              I don’t know about necessary but, in general, I like it.
2) How long does it take you to adjust to the time change?    
              Only a couple of days
3) What's the hardest part of the time change?
              Changing all the clocks.
4) How many clocks are in your house?
              Lots. I think there is at least one in every room except John’s bathroom and the dining room.
5) Are you generally early, late, or on time?
              I used to be almost pathologically early. I’ve gotten somewhat better - as in nearly on timel
6) If an invitation to an event listed the time as 8-11pm, what time would you arrive?
              If it were an open house, I’d work really hard to not get there until after 8.
7) Do you wear a watch?
              Not usually. Only when we’re traveling.
8) Have you ever glanced at the time and had to glance again because you didn't pay attention the first time?
             Of course, doesn’t everybody.
9) Are most of your clocks digital or dial?
             Most are digital
10) What does your alarm clock sound like?
              Like an alarm clock is supposed to sound - it just rings.
11) Do you use the snooze feature on your alarm clock?
12) Does clock ticking drive you nuts?
              No - after the first few minutes, I don’t hear it anymore.

Pasco, Washington

This trip was designed to focus on Lewis and Clark. We didn’t pick it for that reason. Anne picked the timing of the trip because of her schedule, but no matter. We were there.

The first stop was at the confluence of the Snake River and the Columbia River. Lewis & Clark actually did spend time in this location. This small state park at Pasco, WA, is named in honor of the native American guide and only woman on the expedition - the Sacajawea State Park.

It’s a lovely jewel, with a tiny museum packed with artifacts and information. One couple on the trip was a pair of musicians. The woman’s walking stick is also an Indian toned flute. We found this out when we heard this plaintive music floating over the water and park. It was the lady playing her flute. Just magic.