Friday, November 21, 2014

Restaurant Review -- Frenchy's Rockaway Grill, Clearwater, Florida

During our Florida trip in October, we dined at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill in Clearwater Florida, after enjoying the Sunset Celebration and a walk up the beach from the pier.  It was a busy night, so there was a 45 minute wait.  They also had a live band, which was festive.
Sarah got this balloon turtle from one of the folks on the pier.
My cousin Cara ate an octopus for supper.  You don't see that all that often in Tennessee.  I went for the cheeseburger, which was delicious.
As you can see, the weather for this particular outing was wonderful, and Clearwater has a very wide beach, which made me think of Daytona, on the other side of the Florida peninsula.
We parked at the parking lot near the pier, and walked down the beach to Frenchy's as the sun set.
 A lot of cousins!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Sisters Visit Oakes Farm, Corryton, Tennessee

My sisters and niece recently visited the Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch at Oakes Farm in Corryton, Tennessee. I've never been there, but it looks like it was fun.  Here, Grace and Auntie Les pose with pumpkins and hay bales.
Mother Laura and Grace pose with some massive pumpkins.

This snapshot made me think of Genty's Farm in Franklin, Tennessee, where we selected our pumpkins when we lived in the Nashville suburb of Bellevue because of all of the pumpkins being put out in the field by size for customers to look over.
Leslie and Grace pose in front of what looks like a field of battle from which many pumpkins departed for the Great Pumpkin Patch in the Sky.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address during the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery.  This photo of Lincoln was taken prior to his address.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy Birthday, Gals!

Today is Sarah's 11th birthday.  She's grown a lot since this photo was taken six years ago, and so has Molly the cat!

Today is also my sisters' birthday, although at Laura and Leslie's advanced age, I will not disclose which birthday.  Happy birthday, gals!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Elizabeth I

On November 17, 1558, Elizabeth I became Queen of England.  She was the only child of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sarah's Birthday Party

Yesterday we hosted a birthday party for Sarah, who will be eleven years old on Tuesday.  We had fifteen children and eight adults in attendance, so we had a houseful, and it was a lot of fun for young and old alike.  Sarah is reading the Harry Potter books, and after dressing as the boy wizard for Halloween she decided that she wanted a Hogwarts theme for her birthday party.  Sherry even bought the kid a new wizard hat to go with her cloak.
I think that Sherry was as excited about this birthday party as Sarah was.  To save the expense of buying a birthday cake from a local baker, we made these owl cupcakes.  The eyes and eyebrows are sandwich cookies (We used Oreos.), the pupils are M&M's and the beaks were either almonds or M&M's.  (We had a couple of attendees with almond allergies, so I'm glad we had both.)  Sherry also made some Rotel and Velveeta dip, and we had plenty of hot dogs and chips on hand for lunch.
While is was in the mid-40's yesterday, the kids found there way outside to burn off some sugar.  I suggested that they rake a leaf pile to jump in, and they raked half of my backyard!  Most of the kids dressed for the occasion, and I was impressed by how many of them had Harry Potter wands, cloaks and other props.  Our neighbor Jamie even had Dumbledore's phoenix Fawkes.
The Alcoa Kroger store sells dry ice at $1.25 a pound, so I bought a four and a half pound bag of it.  We kept a witch's caldron smoking with it during the whole party, which was longer than I thought it would last, and we put little pieces in my Erlenmeyer flasks for display on the dining room table.  The dry ice was a big hit.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Restaurant Review -- Mama's Greek Cuisine, Tarpon Springs, Florida

During out visit to the sponge docks in Tarpon Springs, Florida, we had lunch at Mama's Greek Cuisine, a busy little diner on Dodecanese Boulevard.  I, of course, went immediately for the Pastitso, which is usually described as Greek Lasagna and which I've loved from the annual Greekfest over in Knoxville.  I was not disappointed.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Suncoast Primate Sanctuary

During our recent visit to Florida we visited the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor.
The chimpanzees got a snack of fresh fruit as soon as we got there.  Frighteningly, one of them attacked a volunteer at the sanctuary in 2011.
This little squirrel monkey was interesting to watch.
Primates are not the only inhabitants of the sanctuary.  They had a couple of little alligators with their mouths taped shut so visitors could handle them.

These lemurs were enjoying their snacks.
More Obligatory Florida alligators.
 Some of the primates can be overly friendly.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

More Estill Springs Pictures

Here are a few more snapshots from our siblings/cousins trip to the Camp.  It is always nice to be out there when fall is in the air and you can enjoy the fireplace.

We looked at different options for fixing the holes the racoons made to invade our screened porch, and Laura ended up just pulling the roll of screen we had stored under the house and nailing it over the two racoon holes.  It's a good fix until we get around to rescreening again.
As usual, the kiddoes had a good time exploring the woods and finding ways to entertain themselves inside the cabin.  Sarah brought her rubber band weaving kit, and that kept them occupied for a lot of the evening time indoors.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Point Reyes National Seashore, California

This is a view of California's Point Reyes National Seashore taken by the National Park Service's webcam there in September.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Since I was a child I have been interested in names and nicknames, and while I have made up some for friends in my youth, I was far better at making nicknames stick.  I have many friends from my younger days who still address each other by nicknames from our youth.  The Art of Manliness blog recently had an interesting article about nicknames among men.  I agree with its assertion that nicknames are an expression of bonding and inclusion in a group of men (The same goes for women too, to the extent women use nicknames for each other.), but I don't recall any nicknames in my group of friends that were outright insulting, even if not everyone really liked being called by their particular nickname all the time.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fall in Estill Springs

My sister Laura and I hauled our young-uns out in the woods for one last trip to our family cabin in Estill Springs before we shut her down for the winter.  When we arrived, we discovered a dead armadillo under the front porch and a dead mouse in the shower.  After much bleach and water, all was well.
Sarah and Grace are the fourth generation of children who have enjoyed our little spot in the woods, and they have become expert firewood gatherers, as evidenced by the big pile of it in this snapshot.

 We had lows in the middle 30's, so we kept a big fire burning at night until bedtime.  We'd hoped to have a rick of split firewood delivered, but ended up pulling plenty of firewood off of the hill. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Lighthouse Donuts, Indian Rocks Beach, Florida

Lighthouse Donuts in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, is a delightful place to grab a pastry or sandwich before a morning of sightseeing.  The apple fritter was wonderful.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Audiobook Review -- Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe

Last week I finished the Recorded Books version of Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  As I have written here before, my reading (and audiobook) interests generally trend toward nonfiction, but I have been trying to get myself exposed to some of the classic literature that I missed along the way in life.  This one was a good choice.

I was interested to learn that it was published in 1719, nearly three hundred years ago, and the story is set beginning in 1651 as Crusoe makes his fateful journey to sea from England.  This folds in nicely with my other recent endeavor to learn more about the 1600's.  At the beginning of the story, the protagonist struck me as as a bit whiny upon being cast away on his island.  After all, he survived the storm that destroyed his ship and the other men upon it, and he quickly adapts to life on the island.  Fortunately, he finds religion, and comes to appreciate his life as he finds it and as an expression of God's providence.

I was also interested, from my 21st Century viewpoint, in Crusoe's interaction with Friday, the Caribbean tribesman who becomes his servant.  Crusoe does save Friday from being eaten by cannibals, and Friday is appropriately grateful.  The Englishman, however, immediately enslaves Friday, who submits readily, indeed thankfully.  It gives one sort of the mindset of the times from the European point of view.