Sunday, September 30, 2007

Eat Your Heart Out Calls

Les and Fuzzy are at our wonderful cabin in scenic Estill Springs, Tennessee, and they called us shortly after they arrived yesterday afternoon. It is a lovely autumn weekend in Tennessee, and we're finally getting a bit of relief from temperatures in the 90's. It was in the low 50's here this morning, and I bet it was a bit chillier at the cabin because of the creek. There's nothing nicer than a fire in that big fireplace at the Camp!

As I mentioned earlier in the week, Bart Yancey just celebrated his birthday. He had a shindig out at his place at Mighty Oak on Melton Hill Lake this weekend, and Biff and Leah Byrd are out there too. We just couldn't fit it in this weekend, but I called out there this morning and talked to Biff and Leah and Bartlette. They were preparing for another day on the lake.

Sherry's New Stereo

Sherry's been wanting to put a new stereo in her Volvo, so we bought her a Sony CD player and had it installed yesterday. She picked it out Thursday evening, and I think she picked a good machine. It has ports on the front of it so you can plug in an I-pod and a USB jump drive so you can download music on your computer and play it on the road. It also has a cool blue LED readout and a remote control. Since we spend so much time on the road, it's something the whole family will enjoy.

Greekfest Report

We had a blast at Greekfest! I was a bit apprehensive about not being to park onsite, but the shuttle buses were plentiful, so it was no big deal. In fact, it was kind of fun, since I haven't been on a school bus in years. To Sarah, it was as good as an amusement park ride.

We met the Ninja and his good lady wife, Rachel, shortly after arriving, and we also saw Sike, Julie, Hillary and Ellie (a/k/a "The Simpsons" -- insert theme music here) and hung out with them a bit.

The food was excellent. I had leg of lamb with Greek green beans and potatoes. Sarah ate my roll and some of the lamb. She also talked Joey out of a piece of his pizza. Sherry and Jake both had gyros that looked very yummy, and we brought home some spanikopita (a spinach, cheese and pastry dish) and a dish described to me as Greek lasagna. I've had a taste of each, but am looking forward to making a meal of it, probably a bit later this afternoon. We brought some sweets home as well, but they were quickly consumed after we got home.

Terry and Rachel came over to our pad after Greekfest, and Mom joined us as well. Jake and Joey rounded up several neighborhood boys for some backyard football, and it reminded me of doing the same thing as a child. Sarah requested her cheerleader outfit and was soon on the sidelines yelling, "Go Jake and Joey!" It was too cute. I never had much fun in sports organized by adults, because they were always dominated by the coaches' sons, but we had a lot of fun as kids playing football, wiffleball, basketball and other games on our own. There is a certain egalitarianism that goes with childhood that we adults lose touch with.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Destin Fishing Rodeo to Begin Monday

The Destin Fishing Rodeo kicks off Monday at the docks behind A.J.'s. I'm not much of a deep sea fisherman, but it would sure be fun to be sitting on the deck at A.J.'s Monday afternoon to watch all of the activity. Alas, I will be in court doing battle with the forces of evil and oppression.

Sherry's Computer Woes

When I got up this morning something was wrong with Sherry's computer. I couldn't pull up, so I couldn't post any this morning. Also, all of our bookmarks are unavailable because the toolbar is busted.

To Kill A Mockingbird

I checked out the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird from the library this week, and Sarah and I watched most of it last night. I had also checked out ET for her, but she showed little interest in it. She stayed with To Kill a Mockingbird until she went to sleep. I sort of gave her a play-by-play, and since the story centers on a little girl and her lawyer father, it held her interest. I didn't make it all the way through the movie last night myself, and I turned it off at 10:30 p.m., which is incredibly late for me these days. We made it through Tom's conviction, but still have the end of the movie to watch.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Everyone Is Home

Wife and kids all at home. Life is good, and everyone is playing in the backyard.

J&J Heading East

Jake called his mom last night and said he wanted to come see her, so Sherry's going to take off a bit early from work and meet the boys' dad in Cookeville. She expects to be back home with both Jake and Joey by 5:00 or so. It's a great weekend for a visit, with nice weather. They enjoyed Greekfest in Nashville, so I expect they'll dig the Knoxville version.

I had a busy morning in juvenile court and running errands, and I'm heading back over there for an afternoon docket at 1:30 p.m. I have two cases, and when I finish there I'll pick up Sarah and call it a day. Hurray for the weekend! Whoooo!

Restaurant Review: Salsarita's of Alcoa

We've been meaning to try the Salsarita's in Alcoa near the Hunter's Crossing Wal-Mart, and we enjoyed eating there last night. We were there about 5:30 p.m., and were served immediately. They serve a limited menu of tacos, salads, burritoes and the like, and they build your meal in the same way Subway puts together a sandwich. (I.e. You go through a line, tell them what you want on your burrito and watch them make it for you.) The atmosphere was nice, and they serve beer and boat drinks.

More Kids' Products Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced that a lot more cribs have been recalled, and there have been several recalls of toys for lead-based paint since I last looked at the CPSC website a week or so ago. The Chinese are trying to kill our kids, and Amercian companies are helping them by shipping those American jobs over there so they won't have to pay American wages.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Red Cross and New Client

I had a busy day today beginning with a reception at the Red Cross for a friend who is departing after 12 years of service there. I got to see several folks I haven't seen in years, which was fun. I had a meeting this afternoon with a new client, and it went well. Sherry picked up Boong, since I didn't head out of Knoxville until 5:00 p.m. We went for supper at Salsaritas, and then Sherry picked out a stereo for her car for her birthday. She just went to walk with the neighbor while Sarah got a bath, and we're now done for the night. Whew!

Soft Drinks

While Sherry is the soft drink lover in our family, Diet Coke being her beverage of choice, I have been enjoying a renaissance of sorts in the cola world. Sherry really doesn't care for any soft drink except for DC, but I like a variety. My favorite in high school was Mountain Dew, now celebrating it's (Ya-Hoo!) 60th anniversary, but my aging stomach and diet couldn't handle the high caffeine and sugar content. I'm thrilled that Mountain Dew now produces a sugar-free, caffeine-free product which is really good. I have my Dew back!

My mom grew up in Hickory, North Carolina. Over on that side of the mountain more people drank Pepsi than Coke, at least back when I was a kid. I remember being kind of puzzled that Grandmother Isenhour and my Uncle Mack, who lived behind her, served Pepsi rather than Coke. Sherry won't come near a Pepsi. I can tell the difference, but I'm as happy drinking a Pepsi as I am drinking a Coke. I also learned to love a cherry-flavored soft drink, Cheerwine, in North Carolina, and I'm pleased to find their sugar-free version being sold in our local Maryville Kroger. Sundrop is also very popular in Carolina, but I've never been such a big fan of that particular drink.

I've been trying to buy soft drinks in bulk when I see them on sale, since we drink so many of them, and I've been trying to keep drinks Joey and Jake like so that they don't drink up all of their Mom's Diet Coke. They like Mountain Dew products, and I've also recently bought some orange soda and root beer, which I like on occasion. I've made it a morning treat to have a soft drink on the way to court or to take Sarah to school.

With all of that being said, I'm still mainly an ice tea man myself when it comes to soft beverages.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sarah Charms the Justice Center

I had a couple of errands at the justice center this afternoon and decided to take Sarah with me after picking her up from school. As usual, she charmed everyone and reaffirmed her perception that the justice center and the courthouse are cool places with lots of candy. She was an especially big hit at the Clerk and Master's office, where she drew a crowd.

Walk at Springbrook Park

I went for my walk this morning at Springbrook Park, which is between our place and Sarah's school. It is well shaded, and it was a lot cooler this morning than it was yesterday morning. Between being deprived of my lifeblood and yesterday's walk in the heat, I was thirsty all day.

I was a bit worried that Springbrook would be too crowded, and I ran into quite a few people at first. It wasn't too bad though, and at least all the dogs were on leashes, which isn't always the case in our neighborhood. I did see a lot of intrepid squirrels havesting mast for the winter.

Ninja Law

My friend Terry "the Ninja" Cornell went to the University of Tennessee George C. Taylor School of Law (or as Professor Phillips used to call it "the George C. Taylor College of Knowledge) yesterday to pick up an application. I've encouraged Terry for years to go to law school. I think he has a good mind for lawyering, and he will certainly enjoy the law school experience. He also plans to seek a masters degree in public administration, with an eye toward service in the governmental sector or perhaps in a non-governmental entity. He expects the program will take four years.

Terry and his wife Rachel are going to join us for Greekfest this Saturday, so I'm looking forward to talking more about law school with them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Bart Yancey!

Avid reader Jane Austin Barron, a/k/a Jane-Friend, E-mailed me to remind me that today is Bartlette Yancey's birthday. I'm usually pretty good with birthdays, but I would've missed Bart's this year if not for Jane. Happy birthday Bartlette, and thanks Jane!

Nice Lunch with Chuck and Lisa

I had a nice lunch with Chuck and Lisa at Subs and Such today. Their Maryville office is really nice, and it is right on the Greenbelt Park near the amphitheater. They have a big party during Fall Festival since they're right where they can hear all the music.

Baby Grace is Crawling

I just got home from walking and got this note from Laura. As Locutus of Borg once said, "Your life as it has been is over." Sherry and I had the same impulse on reading the note. It's time for some major babyproofing over at River Trace.

Grace is crawling! ….and walking while holding to furniture….and pulling things off tables….and opening things….and basically into EVERYTHING!

The game is on!


Bingo at McDonalds

Sherry warned me not to have breakfast before my blood test this morning, so I just grabbed a biscuit at the Midland Center McDonalds. I had to orbit the parking lot twice to find a parking spot. The dining room was packed with senior citizens having a jolly time playing bingo and trading quips. I really got a kick out of it.

Lawyers Don't Give Blood

Well, that's not quite true. This one did this morning, but only a small vial at the request of my physician who recently put me on medicine for hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism isn't that big a deal, but it supposedly makes you feel run down and otherwise slows down your metabolism. The blood test this morning was to see how the medication is working.

Another Fire Pit

Our landlord did some yard work at our place last week and noticed the hole that Jake and Joey and the neighborhood boys dug this summer. I offered to fill it back in, since I was aware he had filled in a hole just before we moved in. He said not to worry about it and that he would bring some stones for a fire pit. We'll really enjoy that once the cold weather finally gets there.

Lunch with the McClarys

I am going to have lunch with Chuck and Lisa McClary today. I ran into Lisa not long ago at the library, but I haven't really gotten to visit with the McClarys since before I moved to Nashville. They used to host some really fun bonfire parties at their former home over near where Mom now lives, and they have built a fire pit at their new place in Sevierville, so I'm looking forward to their first shindig at their new place.

Sarah's Art Display

Sarah has been hard at work painting in her garage studio, and I've set aside several of her recent works of art. Our garage windows have been covered by curtains that fall off of the door every time I open the garage door. The curtains are also very worn and ready to be replaced, so I took them down and taped up four of Sarah's recent paintings on the windows. Now when visitors pull into our driveway, they will be treated to a display of her colorful paintings instead of those terrible curtains.

Standoff Defendant Charged With Attempted Murder

Anthony Ghormley, the man that was at the center of the hostage standoff that occurred in our neighborhood last week, appeared in court yesterday. He has now been charged with attempted murder.

Monday, September 24, 2007

More on Cats

Emma, our calico cat, is very easy to spook. We say she's skittish. Sarah can pick up Louie and lug him around the house in a half-Nelson, but Emma generally runs when she sees Sarah coming. Sarah has, however, found a good way to interact with Emma, and she calls it "chasing string." Sarah pulls the string through the house, and Emma chases it. Emma's enjoyment of this game is evidenced by the fact that she picks up the string in her mouth and walks up and down the hall with it when Sarah's not around to play with.

Thirty Ain't Old

One of our neighbors is celebrating her 30th birthday today, and the street is lined with signs about how old she is. Oh, for the days when I thought 30 was old!

Hell, I'm 44. I was a teenager before this lady was even born.

Girls Gone Wiggly

For those of you that don't have little kids in your life, the Wiggles are a kids' musical group that Sarah watches on television. They are going to play the Knoxville Civic Coliseum on Saturday, November 10, and Sherry and her friend Vicky just got tickets to take Sarah and Vicky's daughter Alyssa to the show. It sounds like they got pretty good seats, too.

Legal Humor

Bubba goes to the revival and listens to the preacher. After a while,the preacher asks anyone with needs to come forward and be prayed over. Bubba gets in line. When it's his turn the preacher says, "Bubba, what you want me to pray about?" Bubba says, "Preacher, I need you to pray for my hearing." So the preacher puts one finger in Bubba's ear and the other hand on top of his head and prays a while. After a few minutes, he removes his hands and says, "Bubba, how's your hearing now?" Bubba says, "I don't know, Preacher. It ain't until next Wednesday."

Missing Boy Scouts Found

A troop of boy scouts from Raleigh, North Carolina, did not return from a hiking trip in the Pisgah National Forest in southern Haywood County, North Carolina, as scheduled. They were hiking in Black Balsam Gap area near the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is very rugged terrain. A search effort commenced, and the troop has been located and brought back to civilization.

City boys and girls beware! The mountains are beautiful, but can also be treacherous, even for experienced hikers. I'm glad everyone was found.


Yesterday was the autumnal equinox, meaning today is the first full day of fall. It is supposed to get to 93 degrees today, so it sure won't feel like it.

Duck Pond and House Shopping

We let about half a loaf of bread get stale, so we took it down to the duck pond in Alcoa to feed to the geese and ducks. Sarah really gets a kick out of handing out food to them.

Sherry and I hope to buy a house in the spring, and so we drove around Maryville yesterday looking at neighborhoods. I was pleased to see that there are homes that suit us in our price range.

After running by the post office and the grocery store we came back to the house, and Sherry made a yummy casserole for supper. It was a nice weekend.

Louie's Gone Mad

Louie the tuxedo cat is possessed by demons this morning. I suppose he will have to have an exorcism before he breaks something.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Jake and Joey Dominate Hockey Tournament

Joey and Jake are in the midst of an inline hockey tournament, and have won three games so far. They're still playing, so we are awaiting the outcome of the tournament. They have plenty of protective padding and helmets, as they should, so it has to be a hot day for them.

New Attorney General Nominee

Judge Michael B. Mukasey, a U.S. District Court Judge in New York, is President Bush's choice to replace Alberto Gonzalez as U.S. Attorney General. I just read an article about him in the New York Times. It talks about opinions he has written while on the bench. Being a brewer of beer, I was interested in this item:

In 1992 he refused to halt a television commercial that mocked Coors Light.

“The parties have vigorously disputed whether the taste of beer, unlike the taste of milk, is adversely affected by pasteurization,” Judge Mukasey wrote, responding with some newly coined legal Latin.

De gustibus cerevesiae non scit lex,” he wrote, meaning, presumably, that the law takes no account of taste in weak beer.

I'm a sucker for anything legal with Latin in it.

The New York Times website is now available without registration, and I've always enjoyed reading the newspaper for U.S. and international news. The Mukasey article sent me to the dictionary three times for the following words:

Aphoristic -- Using aphorisms or adages or brief statements of opinion, truth or principle

Tendentious -- Having a definite tendency, bias or purpose

Quotidian -- Commonplace, everyday

Knoxville Greekfest Next Weekend

Knoxville's Greek Orthodox Church is holding its Greekfest celebration next weekend. Sherry and I took the kids and met Nick and Elizabeth Fields at the Greekfest in Nashville a couple of years ago. I haven't been to the festival in Knoxville since I was a kid, so I hope we can go next weekend, espcially after looking at the list of good Greek food they will have on hand.

I have posted recently about the Kebab Gyros restaurant in Nashville, though I do not believe the proprietors of that establishment are of Greek origin. I'm on a mission to find similar food here in East Tennessee, but I find that the Gyro meat they serve here is different. Sherry gets the chicken at Kebab Gyros, so it will be a matter of finding an eaterie that uses the same seasoning for that dish. I recently had Gyros at the Little Italy restaurant, and they use real tzatsiki sauce, which was wonderful. Unfortunately, real tzatsiki sauce has cucumbers, and my poor digestive system can no longer comfortably process that particular vegetable.

The Knox Greekfest website has some delicious sounding recipes and also a short list of Greek words and phrases. At the top of the list is "good morning." My good friend, Thanos Kalimeris, once told me his last name means "good morning" in Greek, so at least I have a greeting to use if we go to the festival in the morning. I guess a surname that means "good morning" is better than mine, which means "an amorous or coquettish glance" (i.e. the come hither look).

Tailgating Report

We enjoyed our first experience tailgating yesterday afternoon, though as you might expect we had to park several blocks from the site where our group was set up. We stayed for a couple of hours, and had a good time, even though it was about 90 degrees yesterday. Sarah was a big hit in her cheerleader outfit. I must admit, hanging out with all of those college kids made me feel my age. We noticed a game being played by a lot of groups on campus yesterday. It is a very unappealingly named bean bag toss game, and is apparently quite popular.

The Volunteers beat Arkansas State 48-27 yesterday, and someone got the wave going in Neyland Stadium, which has to make a team that normally plays before a much smaller crowd a bit nervous. The Vols sure needed a win.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Visit to Market Square in Downtown Knoxville

Sherry and I picked Sarah up from Mom's house and headed up to Market Square in downtown Knoxville to explore. I've had lunch with my friend Brent Nolan at the Tomato Head restaurant there a couple of times recently, but have not explored Market Square fully. I was surprised at all the activity. There are a lot of artsy type stores, which delighted Sherry, and there are several restaurants that looked interesting. There was one guitar player, an Elvis impersonator and a lot of booths, including some farmers and bakers.

We're at the Fuzzies' house now, and we're heading back to campus shortly to experience tailgating, which I'm embarrassed to say I've never done. Food, fun, football and people watching sounds good to me. We're all in orange, and Sarah has her new UT cheerleader outfit on, so we're ready to go.

End of "Ta-Ta" Nickname?

I've noticed that Sarah has pretty much given up calling herself "Ta-Ta" in favor of her given name, which she pronounces "Sa-wah." She never did call herself "Boong," which is short for "Boongababy," a nickname her brother Jake gave her as an infant. I still call her "Boong," but find myself using it less and less as she gets bigger.

I think my favorite "Ta-Ta" story is from one day when I was frying chicken at the River Bend house (also known as the Money Pit) in Nashville. I had Sarah in the high chair so she could watch me, and I gave her a piece of chicken to try. When I turned back around to my frying pan, Sarah said, in an insistent, almost anguished tone, "Ta-Ta more Daddy." It was too cute. (I gave her more chicken.)

I think part of the process of being a parent is the feeling of loss as your child grows up. Sherry and I used to kid about crying every time Sarah went into a larger size of diaper. Every step along your child's path to maturity creates change, and part of that is your child becoming less and less dependent on you. The supreme irony of parenting is that if you do a good job, your child grows up and doesn't need you any more. You have pride that she is becoming more and more independent, but you are also sad as she casts off familiar aspects of her childhood.

Sarah Sleepover with Wannie

Mom came out yesterday afternoon and took Sarah over to her place for a sleepover. I told Sarah about it when I picked her up at school, and she immediately started listing things she wanted to do over there. I expect Mom's house will be quite a mess when I pick Sarah up again this morning.

Tennessee Tower

I used to work at the Tennessee Department of Children's Services central legal office when it was on the 25th floor of the Tennessee Tower. Before my brief tenure in that building, the State left the lights on at night and posted messages on the building by drawing the blinds on certain windows and leaving others unobstructed. The tradition was halted to save electricity.

On August 30 the State posted a "Go Titans" message on the building to test the response for bringing the tradition back.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Mountains Have Names

Look Rock Tower

Here's the latest webcam photo from Look Rock Tower, taken minutes ago, overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Beautiful!

Breakup in Belgium

The country of Belgium is made up of two ethnically distinct regions. Flanders (not the Simpsons character) is in the north, where people speak Flemish Dutch, and Wallonia is in the south, where people speak French. The capital, Brussels, where I visited, is Flemish.

The two peoples apparently do not like one another, and the country itself was formed in an earlier day as a buffer country insulating France. There is talk of a separation of the two regions, something that is not new, but has new momentum largely because of a spoof news report of such a separation that people took seriously, much as Americans took Orson Wells' War of the Worlds radio broadcast seriously.

Crocs and Flops Get Caught in Escalators

There's a story in the Tennessean this morning warning that people have been injured because their crocs (or other soft shoes like flip flops) get caught in escalators. Children are particularly vulnerable.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sidewalk Chalk

Sarah came home this afternoon with the sidewalk chalk muse upon her, so we've been adding to our driveway designs. Sherry got off work a bit early today, but Skirt! ads keep piling up. She's gone to get some materials for one of her advertisers.

We Have Air Support

On our way to the restaurant last night a stealth fighter screamed over us and quickly disappeared out of sight. Hopefully this is a training weekend, and we'll get to see some more of them. There's a refueling wing at the local Air Force Base, so sometimes we're treated to some really nice impromptu air shows. They especially like to fly over the lake where I used to live in Louisville.

Murmuring Surf

I read an article this morning in The Destin Log about a resort called Murmuring Surf in Miramar Beach, which was one of the first resorts on the Gulf of Mexico between Destin and Panama City. It was built by the Terry family of Memphis. They came to the area in the 1940's. The resort, on Highway 98, suffered hurricane damage, and has been abandoned. It will be replaced by yet another high rise building.

Mom and Les to Babysit All Day

Mom and Leslie are going to spend today babysitting Grace today so that Laura can go up to her Sunset Ridge cabin to work on it with Angelyn. Mom's handling the morning shift, and then Les is going to take over for the afternoon. Les still hasn't changed a diaper yet, so perhaps today will be the day.

Fun at El Sazon

We had a good turnout (11) at the El Sazon for supper and guitar last night. I suggested to Landeo that he sing Jimmy Buffett's "Pirate Looks at Forty" in a pirate voice in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day. He tried the idea on for size, but decided against it.

I've been teaching Sarah to tango. She really likes to spin. We tangoed for about three songs and then had to head back to the house so Sherry could catch up on her Skirt! ads. Sherry and I shared fajitas for one and came home with as much as we ate. Sarah also had fun feeding Grace refried beans and getting her to smile.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Peanut Butter and Sausage Pizza

Sarah and I played a game on the way home from her school today. The game involved imagining toppings for pizza, and perhaps the worst we came up with was peanut butter and sausage pizza. I'd have to give Sarah the award for most creative for corn on the cob pizza.

Natalie George Injured

Our household isn't the only one dealing with the pain of a wounded child. Johnny and Karen George's little girl Natalie dropped a coffee cup and then cut her hand on it trying to reach the crayons it held from where she was sitting on a chair. This happened this past weekend and required stiches. I talked to Johnny today, and it sounds like she's doing okay. From what he described there was a lot of blood though. Yikes!

Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Arrrrrrrggghhhh! It be talk like a pirate day, Matey! Grease the gunnels and haul up the mainsail and other pirate stuff like that. I'll have to remind Landeo that today is talk like a pirate day and request that he sing a song as a pirate when we see him this evening at El Sazon.

All's Quiet on Lively Road

I just looked out the front door, and I am happy to report that everything is quiet in our neighborhood this morning. The Daily Times reports that the man who caused all the trouble yesterday has been charged with especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and aggravated burglary. I hope they keep him locked up for a while.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Steve, Sherry and Sarah Escape from Hostage Standoff Scene

We were finally able to leave our house about an hour ago, and we went to Kroger to buy groceries. The horde of reporters who were headed down the street before we left have reported, via their websites, that the deputies, negotiating with the crazy man from inside the house, convinced him to give himself up. They slid a pair of handcuffs under the bathroom door, and he put them on himself and gave up. He has an "extensive" criminal record from both Tennessee and Georgia that includes rape, incest, DUI and assault. He had an outstanding assault warrant here before all this started.

Thank you to all of the hardworking men and women of the Blount County Sheriff's Department and to Sheriff Berrong and Chief Deputy Ron Dunn for what they did to keep our neighborhood safe today.

Cometh the Journalists

The public relations officer from the sheriff's department is leading a flock of journalists down Lively Road to the scene of the crime. They're all talking on their cellular telephones as they go.

End of Standoff

A mass exodus of police cars from Lively Road is underway, and the hostage situation has been resolved. An ambulance has just departed with the grandmother/hostage, and the assailant was taken from the scene by police. Our neighbor reports the man had a cut on his neck and assumes it was self-inflicted.

Bomb Squad Arrives

The sheriff's bomb squad truck just arrived on the scene and is parked in the parking lot of the apartments across the street. I suspect the crazy guy has stopped talking to the deputies and that they will send a robot to look inside the house. If there were concern about a bomb, they would have evacuated us by now.

We have pretty much resigned ourselves to spending the rest of the day holed up here, rather than leaving and getting trapped away from our home.

UPDATE: The bomb squad truck belonged to the Knox County Sheriff Department, according to the TV news websites.

Standoff Photos

The News Sentinel's Knoxnews website has some photos online of the police activity that has been going on in front of our place all morning. They just backed two ambulances up to the house where the man is holed up.

Someone posted a comment to the WBIR web coverage saying that he or she heard on a police scanner earlier in the morning that the elderly woman had been killed, and I suspect that the daughter that escaped the house told the neighbor that the man had killed her mother with the bat. I think that must be where the rumor of a death started.

Badman Wants to Leave in a Body Bag

Our neighbor just gave us the latest information she's heard on the hostage standoff. The suspect and one of the women who left in an ambulance got married on Friday. He spent the weekend drinking, and the two got into an argument yesterday evening. The police were called, and the man left with his belongings shortly before Sarah and I got home yesterday afternoon (about 4:30 p.m.). Thankfully, the children that live in the house were sent to stay with some family or friends in Friendsville. The two women that left in ambulances stayed at the house, no doubt to be with their elderly mother and disabled brother.

The "elderly woman" who is being held hostage is the mother of the two women and grandmother of the children. She is reportedly bleeding and being held at knifepoint in the back bathroom of the house. The man has said he is not leaving the house except in a body bag. Two SWAT team members just walked past our place carrying a machine gun and what looks like an automatic shotgun, so they are well prepared to make his wish come true.

Two Dozen Police Cars

I just did a quick count of the police cruisers I can see from our windows, and I counted 24. Sheriff Berrong has been on the scene, and Chief Deputy Ron Dunn has been here for some time now. The television news folk are reporting that the authorities are in contact with the suspect by telephone, which is good. Hopefully they'll be able to talk him into giving up before anyone else gets hurt.

Hostage Situation

According to one of the neighbors, there is a man holding at least one female hostage in the screaming lady's house. He beat one woman with a baseball bat and went after her grandmother as she escaped. Except for the two women who have been evacuated by ambulance, the rest of the members of the screaming lady's house are unaccounted for. The police are allowing people to leave, but not to come into the neighborhood.

UPDATE: WBIR reports that there are two people in the house with the bad guy. Several children live at that house, and I still haven't heard about their whereabouts. The woman who escaped went across the street to a neighbors. That neighbor says that the grandmother died from the beating inflicted on her; however, two of the local news outlets report that the hostage is an "elderly woman."

SWAT Team Arrives

Our neighborhood is absolutely full of police officers, and the SWAT team has arrived in full combat gear, including helmets.

Cops and Ambulances at Screaming Lady's House

I just stepped out on the front porch to feel the morning temperature outside, and I encountered two ambulances and three police cruisers with their rollers on in the screaming lady's driveway across the street and a couple of doors down. (Well, one of the ambulances was in the driveway of the neighbors with whom we share our duplex.) One ambulance just turned on its siren and left, and another police car just arrived and parked in the apartment across the street.

UPDATE: They just told us to get inside and lock the doors. Apparently someone is still at large. According to our neighbors, there was a murder at the screaming lady's house.

NOTE: I refer to this house as the screaming lady's house because there is a woman there that I have heard screaming at the children that live there, usually in the process of getting them into the car.

Metro Nashville Dress Code

There's an enjoyable article in the Nashville Scene about the Metro Nashville school dress code, and the author's attitude toward it seems similar to mine. As a parent I sort of like the idea, aside from the cost and inconvenience of obtaining clothes that comply with the rules. Like most sane people I abhor the baggy pants and stupid hair you see kids wearing. We saw a kid walking down Highway 100 Saturday wearing huge bell bottoms that almost looked like a dress and a dyed, spiked Mohawk. My comment was that he ought to just get a T-shirt that says, "I never want to amount to anything in life." I was also appalled to see that a kid about J&J's age that lives across the street from Grams wears an earring.

Now that I've staked out my ground as an irritable oldster, I can recall the stupid fashion that I proudly wore even into my college years. I actually got thrown out of Old College Inn on the strip once because my T-shirt was too ragged, and I wore some pretty stupid hair after I quit McDonald's, which required boys' hair to be worn above the collar and above the ears. I would have hated a dress code in high school.

El Sazon Wednesday

Leslie was still fighting off the respiratory bug that's going around when we got home Sunday, so we decided to plan an outing for Wednesday evening at the El Sazon Mexican restaurant on Airport Highway. Local entertainer Dave Landeo has a regular gig there Wednesday nights beginning at 7:00 p.m., and he confirmed yesterday that he'll be there tomorrow. Sarah likes to dance to his songs. It should be a fun mid-week outing.

Sarah's Gymnastics

I arrived at Sarah's day care a few minutes early so I could observe her in gymnastics class. We signed her up for an extra hour of gymnastics each week, and yesterday was the first day of the new class. They have a room with one-way glass so parents can watch their kids without distracting them, and it was fun watching her go through her paces.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dave Perez Visits Maryville

Dave Perez is a lawyer friend of mine who also moved from Maryville to Nashville. His brother and mom live in Nashville, and Sherry and the kids and I used to run into the Brothers Perez at the community pool in Rolling River subdivision where we used to live. David had court in Athens today, and dropped by the courthouse in Maryville to say hello to the juvenile court crew. It was good to catch up with him.

Wedding on the Courthouse Lawn

As I passed by the Blount County Courthouse this afternoon I saw Scott Helton, a county commissioner and the juvenile court administrator, performing a wedding ceremony for a young couple. It sure was a pretty day for it.

First Christmas Presents Wrapped

I got out of morning court earlier than I expected this morning, and I've been taking advantage of the time to take care of some household chores. We always start buying Christmas presents early, although we're behind this year, at least for us. I wrapped the three Christmas gifts we've already purchased, along with a birthday present for one of our many fall birthdays. I expect to pick up Leslie's present when I go to juvenile court this afternoon, so I'll get that wrapped as well.

Dale's Pale Ale

The beer box from my friend Rat arrived recently, but I just got around to sampling its contents yesterday when we got home from Nashville. This month's brew was Dale's Pale Ale, and I can describe it with one word: HOPPY!

India Pale Ale is so named because English brewers put lots of hops in the kegs of brew they made for British folk living in India in order to keep the beer tasting fresh after the long voyage to India. The style survives and is always notable for the strong hop flavor of the brew. Dale's Pale Ale certainly lives up to the tradition.

The Children

Here's a couple more photos of the young-uns taken recently. The horse J&J are posing with is a resident of the Ponderosa Petting Zoo in Clinton.

Constitution Day

Today is the 220th anniversary of a very important event in American history, though Americans do not celebrate the day as we ought. The United States Constitution was signed September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When asked what the Constitutional Convention had produced, Benjamin Franklin said, "A republic, if you can keep it." Amen. Let us keep it well.

Most of Bellevue Center Mall to be Razed

While waiting for a table at the Loveless Cafe Saturday morning I read another article about Bellevue Center Mall in Nashville, which is about five minutes from where we used to live. According to the article, the redevelopment plan for the property calls for tearing down the whole mall, except for the two anchor tenant spaces currently occupied by Sears and Macys. It will be interesting to see what they do with the property over the next few years.

The property across the street from our old house on Old Harding Pike is coming along. There were houses and woods across the street from that house when we moved in. Now it's a strip mall. According to Joey another of our Nashville breakfast spots, City Limits Cafe, is going to open a store there.

The Old Harding house has a "for lease" sign in the yard and new fencing. The guy who owns that property used to drop in on us unannounced to inspect his bamboo plants. I'm happy to say that they appear to be thriving, and that someone else will be dealing with his intrusive behavior.

Busy Monday

I have an appearance in circuit court this morning, and then I'm due in juvenile court this afternoon, so my day should be pretty full. Sherry has a full day at the Real Estate Book, and Skirt! ads are also rolling in. We signed Sarah up for an additional hour of gymnastics each week at her day care, and that class begins this afternoon. She really enjoys her gymnastics, so it should be a fun day for her.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Barbeque Reviews

I ran across these barbeque reviews and thought I'd share them. Smokin' Joes in Maryville came and went while I was in Nashville, but I ate at their Townsend restaurant a couple of times. The review at that link mentions Lowell's, which was on Highway 321 on the way out of Maryville toward Townsend and the mountains. It was a very popular for a while, but occupied the space where the old Jailhouse Lounge did business when I was a teenager. "Drinkin' starts at seven. Fight starts at nine." Here's the links:

Tin Roof BBQ Birmingham, AL
Backroom BBQ in Knoxville, TN
Maurice's BBQ in Columbia, SC
Smokin' Joe's BBQ in Maryville, TN

Sauron in Mordor

Home Again

We made excellent time on our return trip to Maryville, making the trip in only two and a half hours, which is the shortest time I've ever made the trip between Nashville and Blount County going in either direction. Wannie's on her way over, so Sarah will have a two grandmother day, which is about as good as it gets for a four year old.


I've been browsing Blogger Play and found this cool photo of a waterfall. There was also a photo of a cow being slaughtered, but I thought I'd spare everyone that ghastly sight this morning.

Report From Nashville

The weather systems that moved through Tennessee this week produced wonderful, cool, clear and breezy weather here in Nashville this weekend. Grams cooked a nice dinner for us Friday night consisting of a delicious casserole featuring ground beef, corn, beans and cornbread, and a nice salad with dried cranberries and feta cheese.

We got up yesterday morning and satisfied our craving for breakfast at the legendary Loveless Cafe. After loading up on breakfast, Sherry took the kids for some much-needed haircuts while I helped Grams choose a printer-copier-scanner for her home office. We then watched Joey and Jake's inline hockey team trounce their opponent at the local rink. Afterward, Sherry, Grams, Jake and Boong went to order the boys' birthday cake while Joey and I came back to Grams' place to watch the UT-Florida debacle. We enjoyed another Nashville culinary delight, Sir Pizza, for supper, and J&J played with some neighbor kids while Grams did Sherry's hair.

Boong got Grams up about the time I woke up this morning, which was before dawn. Grams went back to bed while Sarah and I colored, had a lesson on skeletal structure and played on the computer. (Grams has a Halloween screen saver, which piqued Sarah's curiosity about skeletons.) The rest of the gang is starting to move now. I'm not sure what our agenda for this morning is yet, though I guess we'll go out for breakfast, unless we have leftover pizza.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


We lost big time 59-20.

Run on the Banks in England

The Northern Rock bank in Great Britain continues to suffer from the mortgage lending crisis. The bank's stock is now down 30%, and the British are queuing (standing in lines) up to withdraw their money from the failing bank. The Bank of England continues to infuse money into the failing bank, but it looks pretty scary.

Vols Versus Florida

It's hard to be a Vol fan sometimes. We're still here in Nashville, and I've only seen two people besides myself wearing orange and white here today. The Florida Gators are eating our lunch, though the Vols just scored their first touchdown of the game as the first half ended. I suspect Coach Fulmer will give his team a good chewing out during halftime, as well he should.

My father was a dedicated UT football fan. I suspect it contributed to his early demise at the age of 55. May I survive the afternoon.

Blogger Play is the host for Boongablogger, and they have launched a new website called Blogger Play. It is a slideshow of photos being downloaded to all public blogs. I just viewed it, and it's pretty interesting.

Sherry has a slideshow screensaver on her computer in our living room that runs our family photos, and Bloggerplay is similar, except it has everybody's photos on it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Carrot Cake Recipe

I had carrot cake as my birthday cake this year. My cousin Barbara (another first cousin once removed -- my mother's first cousin) shared this recipe.

Carrot Cake Recipe

3 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 T baking soda
1 T cinnamon
1 t salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 c oil
1 t vanilla
2 c packed shredded carrots
2 c chopped walnuts
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple ---Not drained
1 c coconut

Mix together dry ingredients and set aside. Beat eggs slightly and stir in oil and vanilla.
Stir egg mixture, carrots, walnuts, pineapple, and coconut into flour mixture just until flour is moistened.
Pour into 2 greased and floured 10" round pans. Bake @ 350 degrees 40-45 min until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 min, then remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

Cream cheese frosting:

2 pkg cream cheese
2 sticks butter, softened
1 pound 10x sugar
2 t vanilla

beat butter and cream cheese together until well blended. Add vanilla and suger on low speed till combined, then beat till fluffy.

I didn't have 10" pans so I cooked some of the mix in a mini-muffin pan.

We're in Nashville

We arrived at Grams' place in Nashville about an hour ago after visiting GG's grave on the way into town. Sherry, Sarah and Grams have gone to liberate J&J from school while I hold down the fort here.

Some International News

I've just browsed the BBC and Al Jazeera websites, and as one might expect, they are carrying stories that aren't getting as much coverage here. Both sites' main pages reported that Japan has launched a lunar orbiter, which will study the moon during the next year. It is the most ambitious lunar survey since the Apollo landings according to the BBC.

The BBC is also reporting that the mortgage lending crisis is affecting Northern Rock, one of Great Britain's biggest mortgage lenders. The Bank of England had to bail the lender out, and this has resulted in a drop of 21% in Northern Rock's stock value. Apparently England's lenders aren't any more scrupulous than ours here in the U.S. The bottom line is that your bank will make you a loan you can't afford. Caveat emptor -- Let the buyer (or borrower) beware!

Al Jazeera notes that most Muslim countries began observing the holy month of Ramadan on Thursday, though a few began observing it Wednesday. During Ramadan the faithful abstain from food, among other things, during the day, and restaurants are ordered closed during daylight hours. I'm curious if this affects eateries operated by Muslims in the U.S. I don't think I've ever found the Kebab Gyros restaurants in Nashville closed for Ramadan before.

Farragut Farmers

Ed Rupp, the traffic guy on the local NBC affiliate, just appeared for one of his morning spots wearing a Farragut High School football jersey. I graduated in 1981 from Bearden High School, and the Farragut Admirals were our biggest rival. Back in those days, there wasn't much out in Farragut except for farmland, and Bearden Bulldogs referred to the Admirals as the Farragut Farmers. We'd throw corn on their football field before the game; however, they'd retaliate by throwing dog droppings on ours. In West Knoxville the money has moved west, and Farragut is now dominated by huge houses on little postage stamp sized lots. Maybe they should be the Farragut Hummers now.

Trip to Nashville

Sherry has her meeting at Denso this morning. After both of us are through with our morning duties we are going to load up and head to Nashville for a visit with Jake and Joey and Grams. It looks like we'll be driving in the rain.

When we visit Nashville we like to stop in and enjoy some of our favorite eateries. We really miss the U.S. Border Mexican Restaurant in Bellevue, and the wonderful breakfast and biscuits at the famous Loveless Cafe. There is also a Middle Eastern restaurant, Kabob Gyros, in Nashville that we both miss. Sherry was a regular at their MetroCenter location when she worked out there, and I was a regular patron while working at MetroCenter during 2003 to 2006.

Boong, of course, is always enthusiastic about visiting with her brothers and Grams and her kitties, though Grams' poor kitties aren't used to the handling that poor Louie is used to at our house. It should be a fun visit.

Tennessee Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Maryville

The Supreme Court of Tennessee will hear oral arguments in Maryville in October as part of a program to educate high school students about the court system in our state. As part of that program, local lawyers will go into the schools before the Court's visit to explain to the students about how the court system operates and about the specific cases the Court will hear when it visits Maryville. I am attending a class this morning at the justice center to learn exactly what they want the students to know before they observe the arguments.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Three Old Friends

Pictured from left to right are Dave Myers, me and Mike Simpson. I've known Dave since third grade band class, and I've known Sike since we famously dissected Herman the Frog together in Mr. Hooper's seventh grade science class. The year after we graduated from Bearden High School, the three of us were roommates at a rental house in Rocky Hill. (In the background is Lt. Commander Phil O'Dendron, but that's another story.)

World's Biggest Blog Party for Charity

There is a fellow here in Maryville who is trying to assemble 1000 bloggers to encourage their readers to contribute to a good cause of their choice. As Boongablogger readers know, I am currently serving as a member of the Blount County of the American Red Cross. Accordingly, in doing my part as part of the World's Biggest Blog Party for Charity, I hereby encourage readers to contribute, either by volunteering time or donating dollars, to the American Red Cross.
Most people know that the Red Cross responds to disasters, and the disasters range in scale from housefires, which are devastating to the families who experience them, to large-scale disasters such as the shootings at Columbine, the bombing of the Murrow Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the attacks of 9-11-2001 and Hurricane Katrina. The Red Cross is not some far away entity. It is made up of your friends and neighbors, and if disaster strikes, we'll be there. Do what you can to support the American Red Cross in your community, or give time and/or money to whatever good cause is near and dear to your heart.

Three Cheerleaders!

This photo is from my birthday party, and the day of the Vols season opener. From left to right are Grace Graham, Sarah Ogle and Ellie Simpson. Go Vols!

Thirteen Hour Day

Sherry left for work at 8:30 a.m. yesterday and didn't return home until 10:00 p.m., which by my calculation is a thirteen hour work day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Poor Little River

I was saddened to see the low level of the Little River as I drove from Gatlinburg to Townsend this afternoon. I do not recall ever seeing it so low. What is normally a quickly moving mountain river is flat and still in many places, even after a decent rain yesterday. I have heard reports that the river was low, but driving along it made me painfully aware of just how bad this drought is.

A Flock of Turkey, a Bear Cub and a Fawn

I missed the school I went to visit in Gatlinburg today and wound up driving all the way up to the Noah "Bud" Ogle cabin before I was sure I'd missed the driveway. On the way back out of the woods I saw a flock of turkey, a bear cub and a fawn.

I saw a bear in Cades Cove in 1995 in the middle of a field, and it was surrounded by a bunch of tourists. The cub I saw today is the only time I've seen a bear in the woods. I did not see the mother bear, and I am very thankful that I was in my car. Coming between a mother black bear and her cub can be hazardous to one's health.

Pray for Steve

I visited Sevier County today in connection with one of my juvenile court cases, and as I was driving down the Parkway in Pigeon Forge I saw a sign that said "Pray for Steve." It's nice to know they were thinking about me.

Denso Courting Sherry

Denso, a manufacturer of auto parts, is one of the largest employers in Blount County. Sherry has designed ads for them for Skirt! magazine, and they want to meet with her this Friday to discuss her handling some other freelance projects for them. We're both excited about this opportunity.

Photo of Sarah After Removal of Sutures

Here's a photo of Sarah taken on Monday, after she got her sutures removed last Friday. She still has a bit of a black eye, which really isn't apparent in this photo.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sarah's Injuries

These are photos showing Sarah's injuries from the dog attack. I weep.

Half Staff

The flags are flying at half staff all over Maryville this morning in remembrance of the attacks of September 11, 2001. I was sitting in court when I heard about the attack and then watched the World Trade Center towers fall on television in the Blount County Justice Center. I was Chair of the Board of Directors of the local Red Cross at the time, and I spent the rest of the morning at the Chapter House watching the news coverage.

Poisoned by Skittles

Mom bought some Skittles candy for Sarah when she spent the night with Mom Saturday night. Sarah forgot to bring them home with her, and Mom was tempted to try them. I'm not a big candy eater to begin with, and I would have warned her that Skittles aren't worth the calories. Anyway, Mom had an allergic reaction of some sort, and she figures the Skittles are the source of her discomfort. The moral of the story is that you should never take candy from a baby.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Concluded

I just got home from picking up Sarah from day care, and she's pulling a string for the cats to chase. Sherry had to run by a local florist, TeBo's on Alcoa Highway, to take some photos for their new Skirt! magazine ad for autumn. She just finished up there, and is on her way home.

Holly Pockets

Pictured above are examples of Polly Pocket dolls, of which Sarah has several. Like many children, Sarah is constantly acquiring speech by approximating what she hears. We have to work with her, for example, to remember to say the "n" in "funky."
She calls Polly Pocket dolls, "Holly Pocket," so when Mom went looking for a gift for Sarah, she went to Wal-Mart and asked for help finding "Holly Pockets." They even announced the search for "Holly Pockets" over the intercom. Fortunately, Mom was assisted by a knowledgable clerk, who correctly directed her to the Polly Pocket dolls.

Isabella in Oz

Isabella Albamonte, pictured here with the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz, is my first cousin one removed, meaning she is the daughter of my first cousin, David, and his lovely wife, Margaret. David's mom, my Aunt Joan, and Bella are in a stage production of the Wizard of Oz, and Mom sent me this photo from her visit to the set of their production.

November in Seagrove Beach!

Sherry and I have noticed that vacation rental rates drop dramatically down in Seagrove Beach after November 1, so I've just booked us a week's stay down there for us in November. The total with tax was just under $400.00. We can now start looking forward to being down on the gulf "When the Coast is Clear" as Jimmy Buffett sings.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Happy Grandparents Day!

Laura put this together for Mom for Grandparents Day. Happy Day to all Grandparents! I sure miss mine.

The Swing

This is the poem I used to read to you out of a little Golden Book when you were a little boy. Laura found it for me. I always thought it was very sweet. Love Mom

The Swing

by Robert Louis Stevenson

From Child's Garden of Verses

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

Congratulations Lucy and Logan

Sherry and Sarah and I just got back a little bit ago from visiting with the Wiggins clan up at Look Rock picnic area in the Smokies. Kevin and Sandy's eldest, Lucy, recently married, and she and her new hubby, Logan, were in town from Nashville to celebrate the event with Lucy's family here.

Since it was a family event we just made an appearance and visited a bit. I scarfed down a burger before we headed back down the mountain. We got to see all of the Wiggins children, including K&S's granddaughter, Layla, who is close to Sarah's age, as well as Kevin's mom and siblings and Sandy's mom. We also got to see Dennis and Diane, two friends I haven't seen since they helped move me to Nashville in 2002.

I've known Kevin and Sandy since I was fifteen (1978), and have known their children since they were babies, so I'm still trying to get my mind around the idea that they are adults. Lucy's married. I must be old.


"God help the nation when it has a president who doesn't know as much about the military as I do."

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Pat's Place Becomes Samples Family Restaurant in Estill Springs; Hawk's Closes in Winchester

While I'm grieving the loss of eating establishments, I will say a fond farewell to Pat's Place restaurant of Estill Springs, where we have had many fine breakfasts when staying down the road at our beloved cabin. When we last visited the Camp, we found that Pat had sold her place, which is now the Samples Family Restaurant. The Samples clan serves the same country cuisine Pat did, so we'll no doubt continue to eat there, but we'll miss Pat and the servers who had been waiting on us there for years.

We asked the Samples server what happened to Pat's Place, and she was strangely ignorant. It was as if the Samples establishment wants everyone to forget that the restaurant was Pat's Place for the past fifteen years or so. In a town the size of Estill Springs that just is not going to happen.

I should probably also mention that Hawk's Restaurant in Winchester, which had been in existence since my childhood, has also closed. Hawk's closed its doors for a while several years ago due to a fire, but they reopened after that. A Mexican restaurant now occupies the old Hawk's building.

411 Restaurant Becomes Miles Family Restaurant

I just learned that the 411 Restaurant in Maryville is under new management and is now the Miles Family Restaurant. I am terribly disappointed, but will give the new restaurant the benefit of the doubt. The old 411 Restaurant was a classic piece of hometown Maryville, serving a menu Nashvillians call "Meat and Three" and what East Tennesseans just call country cookin'. The trademark of the 411 was when you left, the lady who took your money always said, "Dooooo, come back!" I'll miss that.

Sarah's Night Out

Mom stopped by yesterday afternoon and picked Boong up to spend the night with her last night. After Friday's trip to the hospital, Sarah was feeling better yesterday and was going all day at full throttle, so it was nice of Mom to give us a quiet evening. They'll be back early this morning, when we will reward Mom with some of our yummy quiche.

Restaurant Review -- Hana Japanese Restaurant

A new Japanese restaurant and sushi bar, Hana (Japanese for "flower"), has opened up in Maryville, and since our regular sushi man at Kroger in Maryville was AWOL yesterday morning, we stopped by Hana so Sherry could try their sushi.

She got Maryville Roll, which is shrimp, and the Philadelphia Roll, which has smoked salmon and cream cheese. I tried the latter, and it was quite good. The prices were outrageous, though. Sherry's two rolls, enough for one meal, were $22.00, which would buy you enough for four meals of sushi from the Kroger. Also, there wasn't a lot on the menu other than sushi, though there were a few Tempura and Teriyaki dishes, which were also very expensive. Since Maryville has a respectable Japanese community from the Denso plant here, perhaps Hana will survive despite the prices.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Country Fair at Sam Houston Schoolhouse

We went to a Country Fair event at the Sam Houston Schoolhouse this morning. I noticed the event in the newspaper this week, and since I've never visited the schoolhouse, I thought it would be a fun and educational outing.

As readers of this blog are no doubt aware, I enjoy history, especially the early history of the American republic and of Tennessee. I have strangely never studied Sam Houston, though I've encountered him from time to time in my studies of other historical figures, notably Andrew Jackson and David Crockett. I worked for 8 1/2 years on the site where Houston "drew a dollar from the drum" and joined the United States Army in downtown Maryville, so I'm surprised I never developed an interest in him before this.

The visit to the small log structure where he taught school in Maryville in 1812 certainly piqued my interest. The building is on a spring where Houston and the schoolchildren would draw their water, and the museum at the site had several cool artifacts, including a rifle Houston borrowed from the family that owned the school and land grant documents Houston signed as Governor of Tennessee. There was a lady in the schoolhouse telling Houston's story, and I listened to her for fifteen or twenty minutes. She was very entertaining and informative, but Sarah kept running into the schoolhouse to check on me, so I left before the story concluded.

The country fair part of the outing was mainly vendors' booths selling arts and crafts. They also had barbeque and hot dogs, but we had a big breakfast at the International House of Pancakes, so we passed on the fair fare. One thing I noticed that made me grin was a guy who was dressed as a Native American eating a barbeque sandwich at a picnic table.

Pecan Crusted Chicken a la' La.

Hi All,

<>Yummy! I made this last night and it was delish! :^) <>Take Pepperidge Farm stuffing and pecans and put them in a large Ziploc bag and beat the hell out of it until it’s crushed fine. Dip boneless chicken breasts (season them and you can throw in some seasoning in the bag too---salt, pepper, garlic) in egg bath and throw them in the bag and toss around until they’re covered. Put them in a hot skillet with olive oil---make sure it’s pretty hot—you want to sear them fast and brown them on both sides, careful not to burn—the crumb pecan mixture can burn faster than flour. <>If they’re small, they will cook in the skillet, if they are bigguns then finish them in the oven.

We had them with mashed potatoes and a tomato, fresh mozzarella and balsamic salad.

Grace LOVES mashed potatoes! J



Friday, September 7, 2007

Sarah's Sutures

Sarah and I were at Children's Hospital in Knoxville from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. today for the surgeon to remove her sutures. The procedure went well, and the swelling went down some even while we were at the hospital. Since neither of us had a meal since lunch yesterday, we stopped by Little Italy restaurant for a bite to eat. Sarah ate some spaghetti, but pretty much filled up on their bread, which she loves. We're home now, and I, at least, and exhausted. Unless she develops problems in the next day or so, we are to report back to the doc in early November.

While at the hospital I read some promotional material and noted that Biff's dad, Dr. William G. "Bill" Byrd, is still active with Children's Hospital as an Emeritus Member of its Board of Directors. He formerly served as Chair of the Board and is very well respected in the East Tennessee pediatric community. Go Dr. B!

More Toys Recalled for Lead

More Mattel toys have been recalled because of lead paint, including Barbie accessories. One of them is a kitchen set for Barbie, and Sarah has one. I'll have to check it against the Consumer Product Safety Commission website and toss it if it is one of the affected toys. These were also manufactured in China. Maybe American parents should start boycotting Chinese toys and buy good old American toys. I, for one, am surprised that so many toys I thought were American made are actually being manufactured in China. Barbie is Chinese? Who'd have thought?

Busy Short Week

We've had a busy four-day week this week. Juvenile court and paperwork kept me moving, but I'm happily caught up on the paperwork that was stacking up in my in-box. I talked to three prospective clients earlier in the week and was excited about picking up some new work, but I suspect my retainer scared them off. Of course, lawyers charge a retainer to impress upon the prospective client that legal fees aren't cheap and to cull out litigants who can't pay the freight. Better to know on the front end than on the back end.

Sarah has an appointment at 10:30 this morning at Children's Hospital to get the stitches out of her eye, and I've described the procedure to her several times. She's asked me to repeat it a couple of different times, so she's interested about what is going to happen to her today. They called yesterday to tell us that she couldn't have any food this morning, and since she ate very little supper last night, she's ravenous this morning. I'd say she'll eat a big lunch.

Meatloaf at the Midland Restaurant

Thursday is meatloaf day at the Midland Restaurant in Alcoa, and I haven't stopped in for it since we moved to Maryville. I dropped by for lunch yesterday, and their meatloaf, mashed potatoes and fried okra is just as good as it always was, though it was a lot of food for me for lunch. Yummy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Kids and Critters

It's been a while since I posted any photos, so here's a couple of kids and critters. This is Joey posing with Emma, and below Jake and Sarah annoy a baby goat.

Bellevue Center Mall

The local mall in Bellevue, the part of town where we used to live in Nashville, is like a ghost town. You almost expect to see tumbleweeds rolling through the place. Aside from the big department store anchor tenants like Sears, Penny's and Macy's, there are very few stores. A lot of the spaces are being leased for office space and consignment stores.

The Westview, a local Bellevue publication, reports that there are plans in the works to completely overhaul the site. They plan to have an amphitheater and outdoor pedestrian space. The artist's rendering of the proposal reminded me of Seaside, Florida.

Sherry and I have long bemoaned the current state of the Bellevue Center Mall. When I first moved to Nashville, it was a halfway decent mall, and it had stores like Spencer Gifts and other merchants one expects to find in a shopping mall. Now it doesn't even have a music store. That's pretty sad for a mall.

Busy Tuesday

Yesterday was a good example of how a lawyer's day rarely turns out as he plans. I planned to use the day to catch up on paperwork at home. Shortly after I got home from taking Sarah to school I got a call from juvenile court, and they needed a lawyer for a delinquency case immediately. I didn't end up getting back to the house until 2:00 p.m., but that gave me enough time to get bills sent out and to do some other paperwork. I'm hoping I can get caught up on the paperwork today before the bar association at noon at Sullivan's.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Leslie and Emily on the Television Set

Leslie and her business partner Emily, who offer book publicity as part of their services, have been at the WBIR television studio in Knoxville today with one of their authors. They are promoting a children's book, and they were able to book the author with Live at Five, a feature show that airs just before the local news. I missed the spot, but I bet Leslie and Emily enjoyed being on the set for the filming of the show. How exciting!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Headed Back to Nashville

Sherry's off to meet J&J's dad in Cookeville, and Sarah hitched a ride with them. Sherry and the boys went shopping yesterday while I kept Boong here at the house. I have to say, she was pretty quiet yesterday. She asked me to put on this horrible Barbie movie, and she actually watched it. Uggh! I finished up the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, which I have been working my way through during the past few days.

I think it was good for Sherry to have some alone time with Jake and Joey yesterday. I know that she has been missing them a lot recently. With the boys back in school and Sherry's new job, it isn't as easy just to pick up and drive to Nashville when she has the motherly urge to hug on her boys.

The boys have certainly given Sarah plenty of big brother time this weekend, though she started missing them before they left. Since she was so mellow yesterday, I had a fairly restful day. I'm here with an empty house until midafternoon, and besides some cleaning and laundry, I expect to take it fairly easy today as well. Tuesday morning will come soon enough.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Vols Lose to California; Appalachian Beats Michigan

My Tennessee Volunteers lost their season opener last night to California 45-31. Since the game was played out west, it didn't start until 8:00 p.m. eastern time. I saw the kickoff, but not much else. Hopefully I can catch the highlights on the Phil Fulmer show today.

I spent one hellish semester at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, and without question it was the worst period of my life. I never saw an ASU football game up there, but everyone was talking yesterday about ASU beating football powerhouse Michigan yesterday. Simply amazing!

Birthday Party Report

My birthday shindig yesterday afternoon was a smashing success. In a big surprise my friend Dave Myers came to town from Saint Louis, Missouri, for the event. Also, Leslie's former boyfriend, Robert Barger, came in from North Carolina, and between the Dave and Robert there was humor aplenty. We had a pretty good turnout, though we ended up with lots of leftover BBQ. We also made plenty of tie-dye T-shirts, and I'm anxious to see what they look like now that they've had overnight to dry and for the dye to set in properly.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

J&J Arrive

Sherry met the boys' dad in Cookeville after work yesterday and returned with Jake and Joey last night. Boong spent the night at Wannie's place, so I'm sure poor Mom is worn out. (I left them about 1:00 p.m. yesterday.) I'm going to run over there and pick Sarah up shortly, so she'll be here when her brothers awaken. Sarah's been missing her "bubbas," and I know the guys have been worried about her, since they haven't seen her since her encounter with the dog.

Mom's springing for Buddy's BBQ for the party today, and I just made the pimiento cheese recipe I posted a few days ago. It's supposed to think about itself in the refrigerator for eight hours before serving, so it should be ready about 3:00 p.m., which is party time. I've also got the fixin's for an appetizer I stole from Sike's older brother, Steve. It consists of grated Swiss cheese, bacon bits, diced black olives, green onions and mayo. You mix all of those ingredients and smear it on small pieces of rye, appealingly called party rye. After it's baked until the cheese is melted, the result tastes like fancy little pizzas. It's always been a popular item.