Monday, December 31, 2007
We had a nice lunch event at noon that day, and I don't know how we managed not to have any photographs of Sherry's brother, Jay, and her Great Aunt Betty and cousin Mary Helen, who dined and exchanged gifts with us. Perhaps I'll be able to post some later.
We have been plotting a family reunion with our Albamonte cousins, and have locked down a weekend in June for the event. We recently chose a hotel to serve as our headquarters, and so this morning I sent an E-mail to our other cousins to invite them as well. All of the Albamonte clan have met Sherry, but only Aunt Joan has met the children, so it will be fun to see how all the kids interact. There will be a pool at the hotel, which usually is something all ages can enjoy.
Margaret is my cousin David's wife, and I still remember warmly their hospitality when Sherry and I visited their home in Washington, DC, some years ago. They served us Mediterranean chicken and couscous, which was delicious, and we also ate at an Ethiopian restaurant when we were there. The Albamonte cousins, having been brought up in Washington, DC, have a much broader cultural palette than I do. I always feel like the country mouse visiting my cousins in the big city.
I do not know Sharon, who is My Aunt Joan's stepdaughter, although I have seen her paintings.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
2 lbs ground chuck
15 oz can black beans
15 oz can white corn
15 oz can pinto beans
15 oz can Rotel
15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 packs powdered ranch dressing
2 packs powdered taco seasoning
2 cups water
Brown the meat and onion, and drain. Mix in with the rest of the ingredients, and bring to a boil. Simmer for two hours, and then serve with cheese and sour cream.
You can make this as mild or hot as you like it. We usually make a relatively mild batch, and offer hot sauce like Tabasco as a condiment. We also usually use the crock pot rather than the soup pot, but then we're fond of our crock pot.
The house is back to about as clean as it gets around here, except for putting up the clothes, which I decided to do once I have everything clean and folded. The soup smells delightful, and I'm getting hungry.
Here is a copy of an advertisement Sherry created for the January issue of Skirt! magazine, featuring our niece, Grace. The issue can be found at East Tennessee newsstands now.
When you have a graphic artist in the family, you're liable to wind up in an advertisement, article or catalog from time to time. Sarah and I had a couple of our photos published in a parenting magazine earlier this year, one of which featured us walking out the dock at Randy and Dawn's down in Florida. I haven't added "swimsuit model" to my resume yet, and I do not plan to quit my day job.
Sarah's fallen into the same mistake, though her first guess was closer than mine was. When she sings it, she sings, "Hat hat hat hat . . . ."
She keeps asking me to put the "rock and roll" on television. That's my girl!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Sarah's been jamming to Angus and the boys since she was born, and she's been enjoying the videos almost as much as I have, more about which later.
Friday, December 28, 2007
It was a time of no roads running through Destin.
The nearest towns by boat were Niceville and Fort Walton Beach. And “because you’re all poor fishermen,” says lifelong Destin resident Cyron Marler, there was only one answer for a celebratory Christmas — community fellowship.
Without it, the children could have quite possibly been looked over by Santa Claus.
“Many of them were lucky if they got one toy for Christmas,” Cyron said.
As far back as Destin’s Christmas pasts are recorded — about 1915 — Christmas was a time in which the entire town — all 10 families of it, give or take a few — gathered on Christmas Eve around the community Christmas tree, singing carols.
William T. Marler, or as he was commonly known, “Uncle Billy,” is credited with establishing the first Community Christmas Party in 1915. And it was he who first put on the Santa suit.
They gathered in the Community Church and first school house, which was located on the Choctawhatchee Bay side, facing the water.
“It was a lot like coming together for church — a get together,” said Cyron, greatgrandson of “Uncle Billy.”
Those with a crafty skill, such as woodworkers or seamstresses, would fashion toys — models of ships, dolls and stuffed animals — to give the children. Each also received a bag of fruit and candy. Tricycles and red wagons were rare treats, but with streets of sand they were strictly indoor toys.
I had their Philly chicken sandwich, which was good. It was served with two sides, and I got the house salad and potato wedges, which were okay. Jake and Joey split a huge burger, and it looked pretty good as well.
Our meal, even with the boys dividing a platter, was just under $27.00, including a $5.00 (20%) tip, and my overall impression was that for the money it really wasn't anything to write home about. The menu was pretty boring, and so was to decor of the place. I wish them luck, but I don't think they'll last long. Applebees or Ruby Tuesday would be more festive, and Applebees would probably be cheaper.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
From the Sinks we walked up Meigs Creek Trail perhaps a mile to get to the sunshine on top of the ridge, and it was uphill all the way. Meigs Creek itself was just a damp ditch due to the drought, and the Little River is still sadly low despite some recent rain. Once we got up to the ridgetop, we all agreed we were ready to climb back down, which we did.
We went back to Maryville to check the post office box and to have lunch, and then we killed about 45 minutes at the library to give Sarah time to finish her nap. After picking her up from school, we fed the ducks and seagulls at Springbrook Park in Alcoa and played at the playground there for a while before heading home. It has been a fun, busy afternoon.
This is in the wake of a suspension of constitutional government by the current President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, during which forces loyal to Musharraf rounded up lawyers by the truckload and hauled them off to jail. The rule of law in Pakistan is falling apart.
Sarah came down this morning and said, "What happened?" Sherry just laughed.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Sherry and I did pretty well too. I got a couple AC/DC videos and a Rolling Stones video, which I'll enjoy watching. Since Sarah already sings "It's a Long Way to the Top if You Want to Rock and Roll", she'll get a kick out seeing Angus and the boys play it. Sherry also got me several fun items of clothing, including a necktie with the signatures of the signers of the Declaration of Independence on it. She found it on the Monticello gift shop website. She always knocks the ball out of the park with neckties, and I'm damned hard to buy a necktie for.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Just wanted to say HI! I'll try to call soon too.
We had a great flight up---upgraded to 1st class
the whole way!
It's snowy and cold here and just beautiful!
Max and Judy are coming for
lunch and tomorrow we're heading for
Canmore in the Rockies where Mike and
Laurie have there mountain place.
Andrew comes Sunday.
Here's the frozen scene from Mount Ranier National Park in the State of Washington via the NPS webcam at a place called Paradise. La and Stew and Co. are north of there. Brrrrrr!
I have to admit, though, the snow-laden firs look pretty for the season.
We put a major dent in the sausage balls, but we bought ingredients for two batches, so we'll make the other batch today. We also put a hurtin' on the lasagna, but we fed everyone well. Mom left before the lasagna came out of the oven, so we sent her home with a container of spaghetti sauce.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
The Saudi authorities have linked the terrorists to al-Qaeda, which marks the first time the terrorist organization has targeted the hajj.
Sweaters are scratchy, itchy, look neat and are therefore uncool and thus acceptable under the dress code regulations. Hoodies are comfortable, especially if you wear them five sizes too big, look slovenly and are therefore cool and thus unacceptable under the dress code regulations. Isn't the whole point of a dress code to have the children looking neat so that everyone has to look uncool together? Ask your kid to put on a sweater, and you've got a fight on your hands. Ask him to put on a hoodie, and you'll get far less complaint. A controversy is born!
In the 1930s and 1940s, Swain County gave up the majority of its private land to the Federal Government for the creation of Fontana Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hundreds of people were forced to leave the small Smoky Mountain communities that had been their homes for generations. With the creation of the Park, their homes were gone, and so was the road to those communities. Old Highway 288 was buried beneath the deep waters of Fontana Lake.
The Federal government promised to replace Highway 288 with a new road. Lakeview Drive was to have stretched along the north shore of Fontana Lake, from Bryson City to Fontana, 30 miles to the west. And, of special importance to those displaced residents, it was to have provided access to the old family cemeteries where generations of ancestors remained behind.
But Lakeview Drive fell victim to an environmental issue and construction was stopped, with the road ending at a tunnel, about six miles into the park. The environmental issue was eventually resolved, but the roadwork was never resumed. And Swain County's citizens gave the unfinished Lakeview Drive its popular, albeit unofficial name The Road To Nowhere.
The Daily Times reports this morning that it was a mobile home fire over on Middlesettlements Road. I'm going to drive over there after the sun comes up and have a look to be sure, but the fire was reported at 12:15 yesterday afternoon, so I'm pretty sure that was the source of the smoke cloud. What a sad thing to happen just before Christmas; however, no one was home so no one was injured.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Anyway, Sig and I talked on the phone for about an hour today. His son, Chandler, is twelve, the same age as J&J, and his daughter Kendall is eight. He has been married to his wife, Carol, for probably twenty years. Christmas is great for catching up with old friends and remembering why you're friends in the first place.
The Today show had another nice story this morning about a young man in his early 20's who was raised by adoptive parents. Curious about his birth mother, he searched the adoption records for her, and it turned out that they worked at the same Lowe's store. Though both were apprehensive about the reunion, it apparently turned out well.
She said that the last time she testified in this matter, someone put a screw in her tire.
Sherry just got a Skirt! ad approved that features Grace's photograph. Be sure to pick up a copy of the next issue and see if you can find her.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I called our provider and talked to a really nice robot, but I soon became frustrated and asked to talk to a human. As soon as the human answered the telephone, both of our computers miraculously came online before the aforementioned human could so much as ask our account number.
I asked him to apologize to the robot for me.
Monday, December 17, 2007
I had juvenile court this morning, but the hearing concluded quickly so that I could get back home and spend the majority of today's billable hours digesting a pile of paperwork about the size of the Knoxville telephone book for a meeting tomorrow. I've had a flurry of telephone calls today, but have managed to stay on top of things for the most part.
It is 28 degrees Fahrenheit according to our outdoor thermometer, so it is not a bad morning for the hot beverage of your choice.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Sherry has shortened deadlines for both of the publications she works for, so she's worked a bit on her new Skirt! advertisements today. I may fry a few pieces of chicken for us later this afternoon, but we're pretty mellow around here today.
According to the newspaper account, Dickenson fired first, hitting Old Hickory in the chest, probably breaking a rib. Jackson, however, remained standing and fired his return shot, fatally wounding Dickenson, who died within the day. Historical reports placed the site of Dickenson's burial on a family farm, which was near present day West End. Unfortunately, no remains were discovered.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Pierre Moscovici, a former Socialist minister, said that Mr Sarkozy had blundered by offering Paris for Colonel Gaddafi’s first official visit to a Western nation since he renounced his wicked ways in 2003. “Sometimes you have to sup with the Devil, but you use a long spoon and don’t serve him the soup,” he said.I agree.
My friend must have done a good job, because the jury found his client not guilty of the two more serious charges involved, and they were unable to reach a verdict on the lesser offense. Accordingly, the judge declared a mistrial. Having just defended a criminal case in which a mistrial was declared myself, I can say that a hung jury is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the defendant escapes conviction, but the prosecution can decide to try the case again, so the accused still has the criminal charge looming large in his or her life.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.
The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
DECEMBER...Over the river and through the woods
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it means more people may be traveling in inclement weather and traversing roads in questionable condition to see loved ones and celebrate the holidays. Plan ahead for holiday travel by preparing an emergency supplies kit for your vehicle, winterizing your vehicle and sharing your travel plans and anticipated arrival times with others so they can locate you if you become stranded on the way.
For more information about preparing for and coping with severe winter weather, visit the "Get Prepared" section of Redcross.org. The Red Cross Web site also provides cold weather safety tips in the "Health and Safety" section.
Be Red Cross Ready!
Get a Kit. Make a Plan. Be Informed.
American Red Cross
All was well in both households, though Thanos has had a job change, which is always difficult. It was good to catch up a bit with my friends.
UPDATE: Oh God! My wife is in terrible peril! Check out the cheesecake!
Since we were all out late last night, I think I'll pick Sarah up shortly after her nap so we can get in some playtime after school. After work Sherry is going to a Christmas gathering of her colleagues from Skirt! magazine, which I think she'll enjoy, but I don't think she expects it to be a lengthy affair.
Sherry's working on a crossword puzzle and came across a word neither of us had heard. What is a snood? Answer:
A small netlike cap worn by women to keep the hair in place.Also, a turkey has a snood, which is a flap of skin that hangs down over his beak.A headband or fillet.
2 pounds frozen hash brownsWe frequently make two casseroles, so we have an extra one for leftovers. We did this one Christmas, and my sisters, in a lapse of memory with regard to the Doctrine of Massive Retaliation, stole our extra casserole! Accordingly, when Laura went to Canada with Stewart that holiday, Sherry and I let ourselves into her house and stole every light bulb in the house. We also took the batteries out of the remote controls and the Flushmasters out of the toilets. (You only have to hit one twin, because the other one feels the pain.) To date, we have not had a casserole disappear since.
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
10 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups corn flakes, crushed and then mixed with 1/4 cup melted butter
Thaw potatoes and mix with all ingredients except the corn flakes/butter mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 or so minutes. Spread the corn flakes/butter mixture over the top for the last fifteen minutes or so in the oven.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sherry and Sarah went to a Humane Society meeting at the library and are still out, though I expect them shortly. Sherry is looking for a public service opportunity and hopes to volunteer her time to help animals in the community.
I have a couple of work tasks I'll need to get done for tomorrow. I noticed that the Red Cross event suggests bringing finger food this evening, and so I'm going to make some sausage balls since we have the ingredients on hand.
Lead singer Robert Plant is reportedly not interested in a tour, but likes the idea of getting the band together from time to time.
Sherry was expecting an short day yesterday, but she ended up working all day. She is looking in to donating some time to a local animal shelter and plans to visit a meeting of the local Humane Society this evening to check them out. It will be a late day for us.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Grace ascended the steps at our place today, and she really enjoyed climbing them. Once she went up the first time, she kept heading for the stairs no matter how far we hauled her from them. Mom's father, Harvey Isenhour, once said, "Show me a baby that won't crawl off of a blanket, and I'll show you someone who won't amount to anything." No worry in that department with Grace.
The Columbus laboratory is one of three that will eventually become part of the ISS. The Destiny laboratory, built here in the United States, is already in orbit as part of the ISS. After Columbus is installed, a third laboratory, built by Japan, will be added.
Here's the "after" pictures of our new wall and stairs. You all will have to use your imaginations when it comes to the finished product, as it was too wet for the crew to do the final grading and seeding. It will just be a muddy mess till spring. And we have to talk to our carpenter about building a railing of some sort, as one would not want to fall off the tallest point! Also note the short wall on the far side of the garage. In the spring, we will plant something there, so we won't have to mow it anymore.
We ended up going out there yesterday and arrived about fifteen minutes after it opened for the day to find at least 500 people standing in line in the rain to get into the place. We decided to give it a miss, which was good since a downpour began about five minutes after we drove away. Sherry and the kids, especially Sarah, were disappointed, especially since we'd been talking about it for several days. I'd love to see the pile of money they made just off of the 500 or so that were there when we drove by. The tickets were $21.00 for adults and $14.00 for children over three.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
I did not learn until this morning that December 7 is the anniversary of another quite important day in American history. On December 7, 1787, Delaware became the first State to ratify the United States Constitution.
Friday, December 7, 2007
I can't wait to show it to Joey and Jake, though I suspect they will be underwhelmed as owners of an X-Box 360. I, however, am thrilled!
The jury could not reach a verdict on the more serious of the two charges against my client during the trial in October, and the district attorney's office is at liberty to bring that charge back to court. For now, at least, the matter is at a conclusion after nearly four years.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
You really are a heel.
You're as cuddly as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel.
Mr. Grinch.You're a bad banana
With a greasy black peel.
You're a monster, Mr. Grinch.
Your heart's an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders,
You've got garlic in your soul.
I wouldn't touch you, with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole.
You're a vile one, Mr. Grinch.
You have termites in your smile.
You have all the tender sweetness
Of a seasick crocodile.Mr. Grinch.
Given the choice between the two of you
I'd take the seasick crockodile.
You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch.
You're a nasty, wasty skunk.
Your heart is full of unwashed socks
Your soul is full of gunk.Mr. Grinch.
The three words that best describe you,are, and I quote: "Stink. Stank. Stunk."
You're a rotter, Mr. Grinch.
You're the king of sinful sots.
Your heart's a dead tomato splot
With moldy purple spots,Mr. Grinch.
Your soul is an apalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable,
Mangled up in tangled up knots.
You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch.
With a nauseaus super-naus.
You're a crooked jerky jockey
And you drive a crooked horse.Mr. Grinch.
You're a three decker saurkraut and toadstool sandwich
With arsenic sauce.
Copyright © 1957, Dr. Seuss.
They had a typical country cookin' menu ("meat and three" to Nashvillians), which included meatloaf. They were also still serving breakfast at 11:00 a.m., and it looked pretty yummy.
I have to admit, I miss the lady who used to man the cash register. I would say she was in her sixties when I left town in 2002. She had a big bun hairdo and always told her customers, "Dooooo come back!"
Egad. Another badger!
The Vietnamese flag with a feather honors Native American veterans of the Vietnam War.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
She is apprehensive about going to the "kid hospital" again, and frankly so am I. What a horrible, horrible experience.
Sherry's got a deadline coming up tomorrow, so her next two days will probably be busy. If her duties permit, we're going to drive to Nashville Thursday when I get out of court and stay through at least Saturday. I have a sentencing hearing there Friday, and I may do some schmoozing when I get through, depending on how long the hearing goes Friday morning.
The Opryland Hotel has an ice sculpture exhibit each Christmas, and this year has a Grinch theme. Sherry bought us a copy, and she and Sarah have watched it several times already. I think they will probably go see the Grinch/ice sculpture exhibit while I'm in court Friday.
to the community, and the courthouse is full of Christmas trees decorated by various community agencies and businesses. Lights are also starting to go up on people's homes, and the neighbors with whom we share this duplex have two inflatable snowmen in the front yard.
The Town of Louisville had their Christmas parade, which once exiled me from my home on Hardy Boulevard for half a day, about a week ago, and the Blount County Red Cross emergency response vehicle ("Big E") participated in the Townsend parade Sunday. We'll probably start decorating our place soon.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Loudon Wainwright III is playing at the Bijou Theater in Knoxville next
Saturday, August 8, 2007. He is best known for his song, "Dead
Skunk in the Middle of the Road", and if you haven't ever heard the
song, it would be worth going to the concert just to hear the song.
Wainwright is a folk singer I'd like to see, but I've got a
sentencing hearing in criminal court in Nashville next Friday.
I'd say we'll be pretty bushed by the time we get home Saturday.
I hate to say it, but the better team won.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Sherry and Sarah have gone to Circuit City and Target to go shopping, so I have just finished preparing an order from yesterday's proceedings in juvenile court. You know you've had an enjoyable work week when you feel like putting in an extra billable hour or so on the weekend.
I recognize that this is not a flattering photograph of me, but I think it is such a sweet picture of Sarah and me that I can't resist sharing it. One of the coolest aspects of parenthood is the wonderful, vicarious joy one experiences exploring the vast world with one's children, especially when the child experiences something particularly enjoyable and wondrous, like wading in the ocean for the first time.
Our experience with this family began shortly after we moved to the neighborhood, and they brought home the Jesus Saves school bus, which looked as though it had been vandalized, and parked it in their front yard. They have about fourteen kids, which they "home school," meaning in reality they spend their day "learning" how to play in the street and jump on their trampoline. They routinely enter our next door neighbor's garage and take their kid's toys, and they take things from our yard from time to time, though I've moved our kids' toys inside to keep them away from the little thieves. Someone put signs up in the neighborhood to wish the mother a happy birthday, and unlike most people who would remove the signs after the birthday, they left them to become trash blowing about the neighborhood.
I suppose I'm a bit put out recently about people who seem to observe no boundaries with regard to their intrusion on others. Don't come selling crazy here. We're all stocked up.
I've noticed that the City of Maryville has nice new wreaths and lights on the downtown street lights. Alcoa's street light decor hasn't changed, but it still looks very festive. The front yard of the courthouse is covered with Christmas trees decorated by various organizations in the community, and all of the local government offices have decked their halls. Sadly, the Christmas tree farm on nearby Topside Road has closed, but there's one in Greenback, so I reckon we'll cut one down out there unless I figure out where I can cut one for free. (Hmmm. I bet I could find a serviceable cedar out at Mighty Oak. I shall have to call Bartlette.)
During my five years in Middle Tennessee, I had a number of cases in Murfreesboro, almost all of which were before Judge Mark Rogers, who I found to be a very pleasant, intelligent and fair judge. We talked briefly about Judge Rogers, and then it occurred to me to ask Judge Scott if he knew my cousin Jim Simpson.
Boy, did he! We finished our walk to our cars talking about what fine, fun folks Jimbo and his wife Debbie are, and he assured me he would say hello to them for me when he sees them in church on Sunday. I believe that Jim introduced me to Judge Scott during one of our outings after court in Murfreesboro a couple of years ago. It's a small state, isn't it?
I've already ordered her a copy for Christmas from Amazon.com.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Sarah's been itching to put up Christmas decorations, since our neighbors have already begun the process. We'll pull those boxes out of the garage next weekend when Jake and Joey are here to help us with the festivities.
Sherry's friend, Nazie, recently sent us this Fall photo of her daughters, Nilu and Naseem. They live in Los Angeles, and we went to visit them out there several years ago. It was my first trip to LA, and Nazie and her husband, Arsalan, were generous hosts. We saw Nazie about a year ago for Sherry's high school reunion, but we hope to get our families together again soon.
I do not know the entire story, but it is my understanding that Nazie's dad was a high level official in the judicial branch of government in Iran during the administration of the last Shah. The family fled their homeland for the United States during the fundamentalist revolution of the Seventies, and Nazie and Sherry met in third grade shortly after Nazie and her family arrived here. The story of their friendship would make a great book.