Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Taking the night off.  Sleep well!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Questions for a New Year's Eve Reflection

Stolen from Sunday Stealing

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
            Travel and spending time with family and friends.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

            Dealing with the deaths of Ken and Allan.
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

          Continued joy in experiencing our family and friends.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

         The recurrence of John’s prostate cancer.
5. Pick three words to describe 2013.

          Health, hope, Congressional ineffectiveness (sorry, I couldn’t get that in one word)
6. What were the best books you read this year?

         My reading is still so “iffy”, but I did enjoy reading Orphan Train and John Grisham‘s Sycamore Row.
7. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

          Family and friends - as always
8. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

           Loss of height and stamina, the weight gain that goes along with it.
9. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

           Just dealing with life at 77.
10. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

           I don’t know that I have a “spiritual” side.
11. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

12. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

           I think Allan and I reconnected before his death.
13. What was the most enjoyable part of your work?

           Being retired - it’s been the most enjoyable part of work for a long time.
14. What was the most challenging part of your work?

           Doing any work at all.
15. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

           Probably computer games, although they do keep my mind working.
16. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

            I could have done a lot better.
17. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

          Sometimes things really do just slow down.
18. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2013 for you.
           It always comes down to family and friends.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Winter Saturday

Cold, gray, yucky rain
All day long, but sunshine came
With Sue and Randy.

Chapter 2.

Yesterday at my physical, the doc told me that she had heard a slight heart murmur. She'd never mentioned that before, and said that probably it was just a slight calcification of one of the valves that was age related, that it was intermittent, etc. OK - just something to check.

But then I got a call this morning from the Heart Institute letting me know that I had an appointment next Tuesday for an echocardiogram. Guess she decided we needed to followup with that, just to be on the safe side. That works for me, too. Sighhhhhhhhhhh

I guess we’ll be checking back about this.
Somehow the manicure and pedicure later were anticlimactic.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Physical exam

I had my physical exam today - mostly good stuff.

All the lab work was good. My at-the-upper-limit-of-normal cholesterol was down 20 points after having taken red yeast rice for the last year.

On the other hand, I’ve now lost two inches of height - down to 5’5” now - and gained some weight. As I told John, I just got squashed down somewhat - shorter and rounder.

I also have a slight heart murmur - not mentioned before. She said it’s probably just some calcification of a heart valve that has increased enough to hear as the valve aged (just the valve, not me, of course). She didn’t seem concerned about it, so I guess I won’t be, either.

And now that’s out of the way for another year, and I’ll just continue to muddle along.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day

It was a lovely day - beautiful sunshine, good food with family and friends.  That's what Christmas should be about.
John carving the turkey.

Dinner is ready.

Tina washing dishes.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Sometime between 6 pm last night and 9 am this morning, my American Express card was hacked - to the tune of almost $14,000.  AmEx was on the ball and had already caught it and notified us. And we had NOT shopped at Target. Merry Christmas to us.

And a Merry Christmas to everyone.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Perseverance, patience, persistence

We kept playing, and finally got a few good cards at bridge today. It does make playing the game a lot more fun.

When we got home, we had a phone message from the American Cruise Line. The September 2014 Mississippi River trip we had tried to book a few weeks ago was full. I asked if they’d call us if there was a cancellation. The agent I talked to wasn’t particularly encouraging, but said he’d keep our names in the computer. Lo and behold! There had been a couple of cancellations. We even had a choice of two different cabins and price levels. And we are now booked on the river cruise of our choice in 2014.

So persistence paid off - short term and long term. Plus we’re finally getting some sunshine.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


I don’t have much to write about at this time of year. We don’t really “celebrate” Christmas any more, so we’re sort of out of the general conversation right now. Also, we haven’t been doing much outside. We don’t shop and don’t like crowds, so we stay home.

Sorry to be so unexciting.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Just another quiet day to enjoy.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Stick to String

Today started out with a fasting blood draw for next week's physical exam.  This was one of the best sticks I've ever had.  I really didn't know she'd stuck me until I realized she was filling the tubes. 

And the day ended with the sublime chamber music of Beethoven and Brahms at the String Theory concert at the Hunter Museum, followed by enchiladas and carnitas at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

It all made for a pretty good day.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sunshine Wednesday

Swim, coffee, haircuts!
Leaves finally cleared up, then
Dinner with Tina.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


CSpan is filming here in Chattanooga this week. We're going to be the featured city on Book TV (CSpan 2) and American History TV (CSpan 3) the weekend of 18-19 January 2014. I'll try to remind folks when the time gets closer. And, of course, these filmed city tours are available on their web site after airing.
Remember a week or so ago when I wrote a piece about the police chief who had a love nest with his sweetie (not his wife) in a storage unit?

OK, in the Sunday edition of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, on the Letters to the Editor page, there is a column of “Rants”. These are short (25 words or less), unsigned letters. As expected, some are better than others. However, last Sunday, there was one that got a big belly laugh from us.

Nothing screams romance like a rental storage unit in Cleveland, Tenn.


No bridge today - something was going on at the Civic Center where we play. I guess we’ll have to find out if they’re going to play next week or not. I have to admit we took nice naps instead of playing cards.

John “cooked” tonight - we had a great carry-out meal of hot & sour soup and orange peel beef from our favorite local Chinese restaurant.

And there was sunshine all day!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Reading frustration

I’ve been a voracious reader all my life - and a relatively fast reader. Up until about the last 10+ years. It’s been taking me weeks to read a mystery by any one of my favorite writers. I still have to have a book going, even though I may only read a few pages while I’m eating my lunch or right before I go to sleep, but still…

And I seem to find it easier to read nonfiction than fiction. Does that make sense?

It’s frustrating and discouraging.

So imagine my delight to find that I finished one novel, Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline, in a couple of weeks. And, in the two days since I’ve finished that, I’m well into Sycamore Row, John Grisham’s latest.

Hooray! Does this mean the bookworm has turned? Who knows? And I don’t care. I’ll just enjoy it while it lasts.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Quiet Saturday

It’s been a very quiet day - grey and rainy.

Both of our basketball teams won. The Lady Mocs beat UNC Greenboro 86-53; the Lady Vols beat Troy State 103-64.

Friday, December 13, 2013


The swimmers holiday brunch was a great success - as always. We’re all pretty good cooks, and we all enjoy eating. So this is a good match for all.

The chile relleno casserole was great. I don’t know that there were any rave reviews, but John and I loved it, and it was almost all gone when we left. John’s comment was that the cheese grits paled by comparison (and that dish is full of butter and cheese). I’ll definitely be making the chile relleno thing again.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chile relleno casserole

Chile relleno
Casserole made for party.
Cheese grits just in case.
It’s a recipe
Not tried before. Testing to-
Morrow at breakfast.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Poblanos, etc.

It’s been a busy Wednesday.

After swimming and coffee, I went to the eye doctor for the followup appointment after the laser treatment to my eye last week.

They told me everything is looking good - always good to hear. I do still have some floaters, and with any luck, they’ll eventually go away (or I’ll get used to them and not “see” them anymore).

I’ve been planning to make a new dish to take to the swim class party on Friday. Poola mentioned having had a chile relleno casserole - definitely my kind of thing. The base, of course, is poblano chiles and eggs. OK - I can do this. But then I couldn’t find any canned poblano chiles (jalapenos and serranos, but no poblanos). There were plenty of fresh ones, so I guessed I’d have to roast the chiles myself. That was going to be a challenge and involved actual WORK.

I checked the Pioneer Woman for instructions and gave it a try. Who knows how successful I was. I’ll make this tomorrow, but have no clue as to whether or not it’ll be edible. I think I’ll make some cheese grits, too - for insurance.

After going to two stores to try to find the canned poblanos, I got the fresh ones at the Mexican Carneceria near Vicki’s house. For a chance some timing worked out. Vicki had invited a few good friends to her house for lunch today, and I got there just a little ahead of time. It was a nice party with some great gals.

It did make for a busy day, but definitely a good one. Check back to see how the casserole worked out.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Two out of three...

Two out of three ain't bad!

  1. I slept until 8:30 this morning  (good).
  2. I went to the grocery store (bad).
  3. I got a massage (fabulous).

Monday, December 09, 2013


Is this romantic…or what?

One of the more interesting (bizarre?) local stories lately has been the revelation last week about the peccadillos of the chief of police in a small neighboring city. It seems that he and the head of a local nonprofit have been having an extramarital affair. Not too unusual, I guess - although not the best thing for a police chief to get caught doing. The interesting part is their choice of a location for their trysts.

It seems she had rented a climate-controlled storage unit (this is the south, after all) in the name of the nonprofit she headed. When the police entered the unit, it was furnished with blankets, pillows, and a bottle of brandy. Public apologies have been made and resignations accepted. The latest episode can be read here.

The imagination runs wild!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sunday Stealing

The I Amuse Myself Meme from Sunday Stealing

01. What is something that you have lost recently?:
I lost a top back molar (removed by the oral surgeon)
02. Do you own any self-help books?:
Nope. Most of those things are just common sense - if we’d just do it.
03. Do you live near the sea or ocean?:
Unfortunately, no. I’d love to do so, but I get my fix by going to the beach every summer.
04. Have you ever spent ages making/writing something on your computer when it suddenly crashed and you lost it all?:
Fortunately, no.
05. Do you enjoy food shopping?:
That‘s a funny one. Anybody who knows me, knows how much I hate going to the grocery store. I don’t like any kind of shopping.
06. What are you having for lunch?:
I had celery and crackers with pimiento cheese.
07. Are you one of those people who can sleep through anything?:
Just about anything.
08. Do you like love letters?:
I like the idea of love letters, but I’m not hung up on it.
09. Have you ever received or written one?:
Probably, but many, many years ago.
10. How far does your nearest relative live?:
Other than John (who’s within touching distance), about an hour away.
11. Do you like velvet?:
It’s okay. I don’t wear anything formal enough that I’d have any clothes made of it.
12. What kind of art do you like?:
I like almost all art. I particularly like nonrepresentational (abstract) art, which is the kind I make.
13. If you went to London, where would you go first?:
One of the great museums there.
14. If you had to pick one friend who is the most interesting, who would you pick?:
Tough question. I don’t think I can pick just one.
15. Can you think of the meanest thing you have ever done/said to someone?:
I don’t know that I’ve ever done anything mean deliberately. I probably have accidentally, though, and I certainly apologize.
16. What magazines do you read?:
Smithsonian and National Geographic
17. What/who has been on your mind today?:
Mostly knitting, Lady Vols basketball, rain
18. Would you be interested in ghost-hunting?:
Doesn’t interest me at all.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Nothing to say

I've always said, "If you haven't got anything to say, the least you can do is shut up."

So I'll shut up.

Friday, December 06, 2013


62 degrees at 6 a.m.; 48 degrees at 7 p.m.

Thunderstorm in December.

Trying to make a reservation for a river trip in September 2014, and there are NO vacancies.


What a tough life it is when the high point of your day is getting a manicure and a pedicure.  I guess there's nothing to do but enjoy!

There are still floaters in my eye, but not as many.  I still keep trying to shoo them away, but I guess they'll go eventually.  At least I hope so.
In his blog today, Yorkshire Pudding honored the passing of Nelson Mandela with this quote:

"I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." - Nelson Mandela (April 20th, 1964)

The world is a better place for his having been here.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The eyes have it!

The YAG laser procedure. No pain, and only the discomfort of having your eyes dilated to deal with. The doc said it was unusual for this to appear so long after the original surgery (in 2002), but not really a problem to deal with. When I first got home, I had a large intermittent floater in the bottom of my field of vision, but he said I might have floaters. It finally went away, but now I’m having a lot of dancing floaters. I don’t know if that’s a problem or not, but if they’re still there in the morning, I’ll give them a call.

It was very foggy this morning. That was a good thing, because (being such a dummy) I didn't think about having my eyes dilated and didn't take my sunglasses with me. Fortunately, John drove me, and with the fog, I was just able to keep my eyes closed and covered on the way home. Oh, well - I’ll do better next time for sure.
We went to dinner at Tina’s tonight. She fixed a great dinner of lamb chops, potatoes and green beans. Now I’m really looking forward to getting into the fresh lamb that Wayne got for us.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

More dreary days

Another day of drizzle, grey skies, etc., etc.  At least we're not predicted to get what's predicted for just a bit north of us.  They're talking about an ice storm along the Ohio River Valley in a couple of days.  That should get Kate - and they just had one of those a few years ago. 

John got his new Kindle Fire today.  He's put a number of games on it, and is working on learning to use it.  At least, this tablet is actually working, and isn't nearly so frustrating. 

I'm going to have a laser procedure on my eye to remove a secondary cataract tomorrow morning.  I have no idea what's entailed and what sort of reactions or restrictions I'll have.  Stay tuned.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Catch-up day

Monday: catch-up day.
Cold, gray, drizzling all day long.
More bad cards at bridge.
And now I’m still tired,
And I’m off to bed early.
Sleep well, dear readers.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sunday Stealing

This meme was stolen from Sunday Stealing.

What would you totally eat right now?:
     Another Thanksgiving dinner - I love turkey and dressing.
Do you always wear a certain piece of jewelry?:
      I always wear my wedding ring, and usually some earrings.
What kind of jeans do you like?:
     The kind that fit - whatever that might be.
What's something on your want list?:
      Is world peace too trite? I'd actually love to see our government actually govern, rather than just preen and posture.
Is animal print tacky?:
     It’s not for me.
Give me a good quote that you like.:
      Just about anything by Jimmy Buffett - my favorite philosopher.
Do you bite your nails?:
      I did when I was little, but haven’t in probably 70 years.
What kind of smells do you like?:
     Fresh air, ocean, forest smells.
Do you wear perfume or cologne?:
    Never. And I don’t really like smelling scents on others.
What do you think is overrated?:
     Any unscripted show on TV.
Next movie you want to see?:
     We’ve talked about seeing “Last Vegas”, but we probably won’t.
Would you change your eye color if you could?:
      No - brown works for me.
And what are your goals for the remainder of this year?:
      To survive, stay upright, and have my loved ones all do well.
When is the last time you were at the hospital?
     October 2012 as an inpatient; January 2013 for a mammogram.
Who introduced you to your current significant other? If you’re single, who introduced you to your last ex?
     Nobody, really. We just started talking in the Student Lounge when we were at Rice.