Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

Today Americans celebrate Independence Day, which commemorates the issuance of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The document declared the thirteen American colonies independent states, no longer politically connected to Great Britain, and enumerated the offenses of King George III in the style of a criminal indictment.

I read the Declaration each Independence Day, often aloud, to the chagrin of my family. If you would like to do so, it can be found here.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Roman Pool

This is the Roman Pool at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. What a beautiful place to go for a swim.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Throwback Thursday

For today's throwback Thursday picture, I give you Jake, Sarah and Joey five years ago. I believe this was taken at Springbrook Park in Alcoa.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Battle of San Juan Hill

On July 1, 1898, American forces defeated Spanish troops in Cuba at the Battle of San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War. Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders distinguished themselves during the battle on the San Juan Heights and Kettle Hill.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Leap Second

Today we get an extra "leap second." It makes me think of the Styx song "Too Much
Time on My Hands."

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cataract Surgery Complete

My cataract surgery only took about an hour this morning, and I am back home from Knoxville now and under doctor's orders to recover at home today. They did not put me under, so I was awake for the procedure. The doctor operated on me for about ten minutes or so, and what I saw was a bright light he asked me to look into, and a swirl of colors, mainly light reds and blues until the new prosthetic lens was in place. When I was first able to distinguish objects with my left eye, everything looked a bit pink, and the nurses joked that they'd given me the proverbial rose-colored glasses. It cleared up after a couple of minutes, but my vision is still a bit blurry in my left eye, which they said to expect. I wore my Big Ed's Pizza T-shirt today, and had everyone in the operating room talking about the wonderful pizza there and hopefully inspired them to make the trip to Oak Ridge for some of our area's best pizza. I have an appointment with the surgeon first thing tomorrow morning so that he can inspect his handiwork and give me further instructions.

Security Duck

(Via Phils Phun)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bionic Steve

The rain clouds have cleared out, and we have an absolutely beautiful summer day to enjoy this Sunday. My spaghetti sauce and lasagna cooking went well, although the fresh mushrooms I bought for the sauce had gone bad. Luckily, we had canned mushrooms, and I returned the bad batch to the grocery store this morning. Sherry has gone out to lunch with some friends, and I have a pork tenderloin to grill for supper this afternoon. It has been marinating in Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and Tiger seasoning since this morning.

I am scheduled for cataract surgery on my left eye tomorrow morning at 8:15 a.m., and have been instructed by my surgeon to apply a variety of eye drops in preparation for the surgery. The cataract has become more problematic in recent years. For example, it is difficult to drive in the dark because of the refraction of the street lights and headlights off the cataract. From what I understand, he will take out the bad part of the lens and install a prosthetic which will improve my nearsightedness in that eye. I will have a bionic left eye, just like Colonel Austin. Fortunately, it will not cost six million dollars.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Finally, Some Rain

We are finally getting some rain today in East Tennessee, and I'm sure our local farmers are glad to see it. We've had hot summer days in the middle 90's for long enough now that the sound of rain on the roof is quite welcome.

I have ingredients to make lasagna, which I haven't done since April, when I cooked a batch for my office staff for Administrative Professionals Day. Most of the work in it is browning ground chuck and chopping onion, celery and mushrooms. I've been training Sarah on chopping lately, so I will try to enlist her assistance.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Last Round of Beach Snapshots

Here are the last of my beach photos from last week. This was my morning commute each day, and you can see our orange canopy on its prime beachfront real estate. The early bird gets the primo spot.
The first several days we were down there, they had the red flags up, indicating dangerous currents, and purple flags up, indicating dangerous marine wildlife (i.e. jellyfish). I only saw one jellyfish on the beach, and no one got stung. The waves were impressive under the red flags, and the surf was still plenty dangerous even when they went to the yellow flags. When I was out with Jake and Sarah under yellow flags, I could feel the rip current trying to pull me out to sea as soon as I got to where I couldn't touch the bottom. Fortunately, I was able to get my feet under me, and Jake was able to grab Sarah's float and haul her back to shallow water. He also helped a couple other young girls who were scared and calling for their daddy. In this picture, you can see the high wind from the flag, as Joey and Jake head out into the waves under Skippy's diligent watch.
Sister Leslie was dedicated to spending as much time on the beach as possible, and she made good on that commitment. Unlike her brother, she is not ordinarily an early riser if she can avoid it, but she brought pastries down to the beach for her breakfast each morning. There is no more contented human being than Leslie Ogle on the beach with some Jimmy Buffett playing.
Sherry has been posing the children in front of this purple wall in Seaside every year for several years now. They just keep growing up.

It will surprise no one who knows her to see this photograph of Mom with a book on vacation. When I took this picture I was focused on Mom and her book, and only later noticed the beautiful reflection of the gulf and the sky above it behind her. This patio was our morning coffee house before moving the group on down to the beach.
Have duck, will travel.
Waves crash on the beach during one of my early mornings out there waiting for the rest of the family to wake up.
The kids sleep like kittens piled up in the back seat with Sherry's quilt on the way back home. Sarah bought the watermelon purse in Seaside with some cash that Grams gave her.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Throwback Thursday

For Throwback Thursday, here is a photograph of Sarah, Jake and Joey jumping into a pool in Sandestin about seven years ago. Sherry had a poster made of this, and also submitted the image to a summer photo contest in Nashville that got it on the Tennessean website back in the day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kids Cook Beach Food

We found out a couple of weeks before our beach trip that our condo would be available a day early, and so we rented it for that extra night. Because Mom and Laura and Leslie had our beach chairs and canopy in their rental SUV, we had to make do sitting on towels out on the beach the first day.
As I mentioned in a previous post, we included the kids in the cooking duties during this trip. It was pretty easy to get them to join in because the kitchen in our unit, which we had never rented before, was very nice and well equipped (except the microwave didn't work, an inconvenience on vacation). Sarah has been working on her chopping skills, and she cut up celery, garlic and onion for our homemade salsa.
The salsa was pretty in the blender, and plenty hot (jalapenos and chilies) on tortilla chips.
As always, Skippy the rat accompanied us on vacation. We stored a bunch of Sarah's Monster High dolls, and I claimed these shades for Skippy since his old pair got broken.
I taught Jake, pictured here, and Joey, how to fry chicken according to Grandmother Isenhour's admonishment to "Salt it; salt it again; salt it some more; and then when you think you've put too much salt in, salt it again." We used Whistle Stop Cafe chicken batter, which we got for Christmas last year. It has been a big hit. The box coated about twelve chicken thighs, and the boys' chicken was delicious!

The boys graduated from high school last year, and had so many senior summer activities going on that they could not come to the beach with us last year. I had forgotten how much food two teenage boys can wolf down in a week. We had gone through $500.00 worth of groceries in three days, and decided we'd better start throwing carbs at those two young men. Sarah helped me make a filling batch of homemade macaroni and cheese.
There is a competition at the beach among dads with canopies to see who can claim the best spot. As we considered buying our own canopy, I boasted that if the competition is to see who can get up the earliest, I can win that game, and I did every morning we were there, claiming the spot directly in front of the stairs and on the front row facing the gulf. The fringe benefit for me, was having about 45 minutes or so each morning enjoying the beach in relative solitude as the sun came up. The fringe benefit for everyone else was having a loud man who gets up insanely early in the morning out of the condo so everyone else could sleep. This is what is known as a win-win situation.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Seagrove Beach 2015

We returned Saturday from our annual summer vacation in beautiful Seagrove Beach, Florida, where we've been vacationing for close to twenty years. As you can see, we had beautiful weather the whole week, and we spent most of it right there on the beach where this photograph was taken.
In the past, the realty company we rent through allowed renters to check in early if the unit was ready, but they are converting over to keyless entry. It is nice not to have to keep up with a key at the beach or the pool, but now you can't check into your unit until 4:00 p.m. central time (5:00 p.m. eastern time) because that's when your entry code becomes operative. We arrived around 2:00 p.m. local time, so we just enjoyed the pool for a couple of hours.
Although we've stayed at other places over the years, we always come back to good ol' Beachwood Villas, shown here. It reminds me of Londontown Apartments, where I lived during college and law school, albeit Beachwood's units are better furnished and less cluttered than my old apartment at Londontown. Mom and my sisters rent a condo at Beachside Condominiums, which is across the street from Beachwood and on the beach. We just lug our beach gear over there for the week.

Behold our new canopy we bought for the beach (and for camping and such back here in Tennessee). For years we rented an umbrella and two chairs from local vendors for $75.00 per week, but over the past several years noticed more and more canopies cropping up. Then they went up to $85.00 per week, and more canopies started showing up on the beach. That prompted our family to join the movement, especially since the canopy was $50.00, and we have plenty of collapsible camping chairs. This year the chair and umbrella rentals were up to $25.00 per day, or $175.00 per week.
As usual, we did a lot of cooking on this trip, and we enlisted the help of the children, who all three did a good job of stepping up to help keep us in food for the week. Jake and Joey fried a batch of chicken for us.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers Day

Today is Fathers Day, and in celebration here's a picture of my dad, Phil Ogle, with his young family in the 1970's (obviously). Happy Fathers Day to all of my fellow fathers out there.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Fancy Crawdad

Scientists have recently identified a brightly colored crawdad that lives in Indonesia. Below for comparison is a crawdad I caught in our creek in Estill Springs last month.