Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Snow and Buffett

Well, weather.com is predicting one to two inches of snow from tonight through tomorrow morning here in Nashville, so I've got the new Buffett video filmed at Wrigley Field playing to ward off the cabin fever before it even sets in. Sherry's gone with Ta to pick up J&J from school. The boys are with their dad tonight, and we're not sure if he'll take off to play in the snow with them or not, though I suspect he will if he can. This will be a new experience for Sarah. Last year she was big enough to go out and walk around some in the snow, but I think she's big enough this year to really get into it. I'll post a report on conditions here first thing tomorrow morning. I suspect that Maryville and Knoxville will have similar conditions about half a day after we experience them here in Nashville.

Lawyer Steve, Daddy and the Boong

Sarah and I had a fun day while Sherry went out to Franklin today to bring home the cash-ola. I actually got some telephone calls taken care of while Sarah played on the computer. We left the house about 11:30 a.m. to go have lunch at the Bellevue Center Mall and to get my spectacles fixed from where Boong kicked me in the face recently. We ate a Chik-Fil-A. I haven't eaten at one in a while, but it made for a good, quick lunch. There were some kids eating next to us, and I could tell Sarah has been missing playing with kids her age since she's been out of daycare. We spent some time in the play area and running about the mall before heading home.

Louie's Hideout

Louie, our tuxedo cat, usually shows up in the morning to eat his breakfast when I open up the garage for him and Emma each morning. He then disappears for the rest of the day. Sherry and I have long pondered where it is that he finds so comfortable, especially on days like today that begin in the teens.

Just as Sherry and the boys were loading out, Sarah wanted to go down into our basement to see what was down there. I obliged, and while we were down there exploring, Sarah spotted Louie comfortably resting on top of one of the heating ducts, which were quite warm. We've known for a while that he can get into the basement, but wondered why he wasn't hanging out on the top step in order to be near the warmth of the inside. Now we know he's found a warmer spot down there.

Snow in Nashville Tonight

The weatherman is forecasting about an inch of snow overnight in Nashville tonight. This will be our first snow of the season, and if it happens, it will be the first snow Sarah will be big enough to really enjoy playing in.

Sherry's got a day or so worth of work at PlusMark this week, and so I'm staying home with Sarah today. I may be home with all three kids tomorrow.

Chris Rash Dies in Florida

My Mom called last night in tears to tell me that Chris Rash, one of her dearest friends for over thirty years, died of a heart attack during a routine dermatologist appointment yesterday. Chris was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, and after chemotherapy that caused her to lose her hair, her cancer went into remission. Her death in her 60's after a successful battle against cancer was especially shocking. Laura and Leslie have regarded Chris as both friend and mentor through the years, and so both of them also took her death hard. All we know about the services right now is that there will be a service down in Panama City, and she will be laid to rest in Missouri. Chris was predeceased by her husband, a University of Tennessee football coach who was killed with several other coaches when a train hit their car before Mom and Chris met in college. Chris is survived by two sons, Chris and David.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sarah and Louie Both Pass Inspection With Flying Colors

Both Sarah and Louie made it through their experiences with the doctor and vet, respectively, none the worse for the wear and tear. Sarah got a flu shot, but Louie outdid her with a rabies shot, a distemper shot and a leukemia shot and an anal probe to check for worms.

Sarah is now 32 pounds and 38 inches and is otherwise healthy and okay and meeting all her expected developmental milestones. Aside from the drama and trauma of the flu shot, it was an uneventful visit to Dr. Brady's office. Although Sarah cried when she got stuck by the needle, she was laughing before we left the examination room.

To the Library, the Doctor and Back to the Vet

Yesterday morning we scheduled Sarah's three-year well child checkup for this afternoon at 1:00. I've got some research to do at the Tennessee Supeme Court law library downtown, so I'm heading up there after breakfast and will leave by 12:30 in order to meet Sherry and Boong at Dr. Brady's office.

Louie is due for his annual appointment and shots, so I'm going to drop him by the vet this morning for that. We'll pick him back up after Sarah's appointment.

Sherry says Jake's been complaining about a sore throat for a couple of days, so we may be back to Dr. Brady again before the weekend.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Emma is Home

The vet released Emma to come home this evening, but we still don't have the results of the bloodwork yet. They sent her home with an antibiotic, which has lowered her fever, and she seems to be feeling a bit better.

Louie just came in and is feasting on some salmon from Sherry and Jake's leftovers. He's going to the vet tomorrow for his shots, and I'm going to treat him for bugs as soon as I post this.

Boong Busts a Lip

Sarah was running in the backyard this afternoon and busted her lower lip after tripping. We just completed triage on that wound, and she now seems to have smashed her fingers in the bathroom door. She is not a happy camper.

Emma Update

I took Emma to the vet this morning. They just called and said she has a fever and fleas. They opined that she may have picked up an infection from the fleas, but they're performing blood tests to give us more information. They also put her on antibiotics, and if her fever is down by this afternoon she can come home tonight, along with some flea and tick medicine. Yuck!

Emma's Woes and a Big Tick on Frankie

Emma, our calico cat, has been acting sluggish for the past couple of days. She doesn't appear to be wounded, though one of the neighbor's cats has been prowling our yard. Louie, our tuxedo cat, was holding him off yesterday morning until I could get out there and nail him with a rock. That should keep the interloper away for a while.

Emma is due for her annual checkup anyway, so I think I'll take her to the vet this morning. Also, while Sherry and the kids were at Grams's house Saturday, they found a huge, bloated tick on her cat, Frankie. I've been thinking that we should treat our cats for fleas and ticks this winter, since it's been so mild. We usually try to save the bucks during the cold months, but I think I'll pick up some of the medicine after hearing Frankie's news.

Cold Morning in Nashville

It's 16 degrees outside this morning by the thermometer in our kitchen window. The stomach bug that we've been passing around got me again yesterday, so I didn't move much. The Men in Black movies were on, and I hadn't seen the second one, so that occupied much of our Sunday afternoon. Joey and Jake got cabin fever over here, and so they went over to their dad's for the afternoon and had a friend over there.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pancake Breakfast at the VFW Post

Grams just bought breakfast for us down at the VFW near her house. As you might expect, the politicians were out in full force. Sarah loves to run, especially inside, so she was all over the place until we cleared out. Sherry took the kids over to Grams's place for a visit after we ate so that I could come home and get a couple hours of work done. I shall attend to that now.

Saturday Morning

Sherry got her most recent freelance project and was hard at work on it yesterday. I handled a couple of hearings in two different courts yesterday and then spent most of the afternoon trying to keep Boong occupied so Sherry could work without her child hanging around her neck. I also got a few administrative tasks done on the side.

It was cold yesterday morning (24 degrees), but it warmed up into the mid-50's. Sarah and I ended up playing a dusk game of hide and seek in the backyard. The seeking part was rendered easier via glowsticks.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Scoutmasters Morgan Mascowitz and Dave Johnson

I'm a former Boy Scout, and although I was only active for a year or two, I've always regarded the experience as fundamental to who I am. I wouldn't have been exposed to camping and hiking and canoeing if I had not found my way into the Scouts. I have a really geeky winter hat I put on this afternoon, though I really didn't need it. It reminded me of Dave Johnson, one of the two Scoutmasters for our troop.

I started Scouts with Troop 56 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Morgan Mascowitz was our Scoutmaster. If my memory is correct, he was a Viet Nam veteran. He was the first person I ever heard describe foxfire. Strange stuff that glows in the woods sounded pretty cool to me, and it's still a treat to see foxfire, if more rare. Dave Johnson was older, and more goofy where Morgan, with his sideburns and sunglasses, was cool. Dave was a "new" Scoutmaster to us Troop 56-er's, but he won our respect by his uncanny ability to place his index finger against his temple and make himself wake up at precisely the time he said he would. But, with all respect, he had a pretty geeky hat. I bet his was warm as hell. I know mine is.

I should probably also mention my friend Craig Milici's dad. Craig was a year older than me and lived across the street. His dad wanted him to go to Scouts, and I was easily persuaded to tag along with my older and cooler friend. Both Craig and I agreed that the humiliation of the uniforms was worth it for the camping. (Well, I'll admit, I wore the uniform to school a couple of times. Shoot me. I was a kid, and I still like Star Trek.)

I grew up knowing Craig's dad as "Mr. Milici," and so I will refer to him accordingly. While we were growing up, Mr. Milici became one of the most distinguished geologists in the United States. I still remember the enthusiasm with which he would stop a convoy of Scouts to observe and interpret the stone layers of a road cut. I'm sure it embarrassed Craig to no end. But I took geology in undergraduate school and now also delight in knowing a little something about the stones upon which we live.

Thanks to all those dads and moms that took us little geeks camping for the first few times and helped us appeciate the world around us and our part in it. It worked.

Around the Sandpit

It was 24 degrees at my back door when I woke up in Nashville this morning, but it's a sunny 53 degrees right now. Sherry's been cranking on her latest project, and Sarah's been in the sandpit making sandcastles in January.

My dear wife and daughter have gone to Bellevue Middle School to bring Joey and Jake home, so maybe the three kids will be able to get in a bit more time running in the backyard before the chill sets in.

Call from Rock

My friend Rock called this afternoon from Knoxville wanting to have lunch, and I was disappointed we had so narrowly missed him. He installs and repairs computer systems all over the Southeast, and his work used to bring him to East Tennessee frequently. It's rare when he makes it to Knoxville these days. I gave him Leslie's number so he could try and get her to lunch with him.

Two Potties at Wannie's House

Sarah was excited this week when she realized that Mom's house has two toilets. What luxury!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Back to Nashvegas

Well, we've had a busy week in East Tennessee, and believe it or not I've had several referrals this week, though I didn't pick up any appointed cases. I got to see a bunch of people I haven't seen in months, including my former law partner, Norman, whom I've missed. I was hoping to see Duncan as well on this trip, but I missed him. I feel like we had a productive week here, and this morning we're heading back to our little place in Bellevue so we can pick up Jake and Joey after school this afternoon. Sarah's been missing her brothers.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Risque Post (Don't Let the Kids Read This)

One of our intrepid Boongablogger reporters advises that a regular reader of this blog, who shall at this point remain anonymous, had an, er, costume malfunction (a' la Janet Jackson) while visiting a quiet hollar in South Knoxville. There's something in the water out there. (Or is it in the wine?)

Los Amigos

We had lunch at Los Amigos while we were in Maryville today. I haven't eaten there since I moved in 2002, but they still serve up some delicious Mexican food. Sarah even rediscovered her love for refried beans, which she used to love as a baby.

Busy Wednesday

Sherry and I decided to spend the day today in Blount County looking into the housing market. We both agree that we can see ourselves living in the Olympia condos overlooking the Greenbelt Park. The year-round swimming pool with the retractable roof is a big incentive.

We looked at a house on top of a mountain in Townsend. It would have been twenty minutes from Maryville, which isn't bad, but it would have been too far away from Knoxville and Mom and L&L. It was really pretty up there, though. The house had a whirlpool tub and hot tub and a waterfall built into the landscaping. It seemed to secluded for the kids and for entertaining, so I think we're hoping we find something in our price range in Olympia by April. Norman, my former law partner, lived there and seems to have enjoyed it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Visit With Laura and Grace

Sherry and Sarah and I just got back to Mom's house after a visit with La and Grace. I got to see my little sister change a diaper for the first time, which was rich entertainment I had been anticipating for months. From what I can see, La's doing quite well in her role as a new mother, thank you, and little Gracie's thriving and keeping her mother up at night as babies are wont to do.

Monday, January 22, 2007

White Oak Sinks

I just watched a Heartland Series episode on White Oak Sinks in the Great Smoky Mountains. (The Heartland Series is a five-minute piece aired by the local Knoxville NBC affiliate. It features stories about the Appalachian Mountains and the people who live in and around them.) I've hiked up to White Oak Sinks several times, and it's one of the most interesting day hikes in the Smokies. There is a blow hole cave that blows cool air in the summer and warm air in the summer. There's also a creek that disappears and then reappears. Like Cades Cove, it used to have settlers, and there's still evidence that humans used to live up there.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

All's Quiet at Wannie's House

All the girls have drifted off to bed. Sherry missed her Sunday nap, while I snoozed on the trip from Nashville to Knoxville. I'm not too far from sleep myself.

Cute Kids I Have Photos Of

I think that should have been "Cute Kids of Which I Have Photos". That title seems kind of strained, though. As Winston Churchill once said, "This is grammar up with which I will not put."

I've sent this photo out via E-mail, so some readers may have already seen it. I think this is a great snapshot of Jake and his little sister at Christmastime, though Sarah seems a bit distracted.
Here's Sarah, Jake, Kira (J&J's stepsister) and Joey at Bellevue Middle School.

At Wannie's on Sunday Evening

We got to Mom's house shortly after dark. Sherry drove while Sarah and I both napped, which is rare for me and increasingly rare for Sarah. I had a big ol' corned beef and Swiss sandwich at Jersey Mike's before we got out of Nashville, and was asleep before we got to Mount Juliet. When I woke up we were in Crossville, though it seemed like I'd only been asleep for minutes. What a way to travel! (I owe my lovely wife a drive home.)

I couldn't get the pics Les sent me of baby Grace to post, though I could at least open them. Angelyn Penland called today to say she'd sent some pics of Grace, but she must have sent them to an old E-mail address. I'll go back to posting cute pictures of Jake and Joey and Sarah until I get some I can post of Grace.

Change in Format

I've changed the format of this blog for a change of pace, and I plan to use the old format for a new Lawyer Steve blog, soon to be announced here. It's under construction, but I plan to focus that site on legal issues and on my experiences as a lawyer as I transition from Nashville back to Maryville.

Sofa Tent

Sarah is up, and having had her oatmeal for breakfast, is now having much fun in a sofa tent. She's slowly importing her stuffed animals. Mickey Mouse just arrived, and Sarah decided her blanket fort is now the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

An Unfortunate Transporter Accident

If you've ever seen the first Toy Story movie, you may recall Sid, the evil boy next door who tortures toys for fun. When I was a kid, I was Sid. You can ask my sisters what I did to their dolls.

Sarah acquired a bobble-head doll at the mall the other day. There's a flooring company in Nashville called Empire, and the doll is of their rather soft-spoken, effeminate, spokesman. All three of the kids love the Empire ad on TV, so we all got a laugh out of the doll.

Yesterday, while Sarah and I were hanging out, I removed a Ken doll's head, and stuck the Empire guy's head on in its place. It was disturbing, but hysterical, at least to my warped mind. I left him sitting just outside our back door to frighten Sherry upon her return from lunch.

Cookies Don't Ride in Cars

There's a advertisement on television, probably for Chips Ahoy cookies, that depicts several chocolate chip cookies riding in a convertible. As they drive along the highway, and hand keeps reaching into the scene and snatching them out one at a time. Sarah saw the ad and said, "Cookies no ride in cars!" with a skeptical look and tone of voice.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Grace's Photograph

Les sent me a .jpg image of Grace, and I've E-mailed the photo to about everyone in my address book. For some reason I can't open the image from Sherry's computer here in Nashville, but I should be able to post it tomorrow from Mom's. We'll be there through Thursday.

More Pizza!

Sherry just took off for her lunch event, and Sarah just wolfed down another fairly good-sized piece of pizza. She just pulled her little Elmo sofa into the den to watch cartoons with her stuffed animals.

Our Weekend

Sherry's got a luncheon planned today with some women friends that she doesn't get to see very often, so I'll be hanging out with the Boong today while she does that. We're heading back to East Tennessee tomorrow and plan to stay through Thursday. I got two of my first referrals in Maryville this week. Judge Brewer's secretary, Susan, called for a couple of child support defense cases that were set for yesterday, so I wasn't able to take them since I had business here in Nashville. Lajuana, the lawyer that classed up my old office at Crawford, Crawford and Newton after I moved to Nashville, also referred a divorce client, to whom I spoke yesterday. It's nice to see that things are already starting to percolate in Maryville. I paid my Blount County Bar Association dues for 2007 this week, so I'm official!

Pizza!

We ordered pizza for lunch yesterday, and Sarah munched out on it. Her appetite is still something I'm trying to figure out. Sometimes she'll barely touch her food, and other times she scarfs it down.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Evening

This is just a quick post as we wind down a Friday. They're calling for winter weather overnight Saturday, so we're going to stock up on milk and bread tomorrow as we must or face certain death. I don't know why this is, but I don't want to chance it.

Predators # 1 in NHL

The boys saw their Preds shut out their opponent last night, and the Nashville hockey team is now # 1 in the National Hockey League.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday Evening

I got quite a bit of paperwork done today, and Sherry was also hard at work on one of her freelance projects. Sarah has been practicing using her scissors, which has been a mess but is keeping her occupied. Joey and Jake are off to see the Nashville Predators hockey team play tonight, and the Preds are doing well this season. I'm about worn out.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sherry Solves Internet Problem

Sherry bought and installed a new modem, but discovered the problem with our internet connection was the phone line we were using for the modem, not the modem itself. Anyway, she got us back online, which is a relief.

Back in Nashville

I decided this morning that I'd better get myself home to Nashville. I have a couple of legal matters that need to be attended to, and the weather system that has caused such trouble in much of the country are moving in our direction. Truth be told; however, I missed my family terribly once they left on Sunday. I really felt a need to be at home.

Dave and Connie Myers Missed by Godless Ice Storms

I got an E-mail from Dave Myers yesterday. He lives in suburban St. Louis (Belleville, Illinois), and I'd wondered if the ice storms that hit St. Louis several days ago had affected him and Connie, since they had their power knocked out for several days after an ice storm several weeks ago. It turns out that it was a rain event at the Myers household, but Dave said it was really a mess in other parts of town.

No More Jumping Off the Bluffs at the Y

One of the most popular sites in the Great Smoky Mountains is an area called the Y. There are bluffs there at a place in the river where it's deep enough to jump off the bluffs into the water. Naturally, this is dangerous, and people have been injured there over the years. This summer the park will prevent people from jumping off the bluffs, which puts an end to years and years of a summer tradition. Fortunately, the Y isn't the only place where you can find a good swimming hole up there with a rock you can climb on and jump into the river from.

Missing Person Found Near Abrams Creek

Someone went missing up in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park yesterday near Abrams Creek campground. They found the person at 3:00 a.m. It's 28 degrees here in Knoxville this morning, so it had to be a cold night up in the mountains.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Holiday Pics

We just got our holiday photos online, so here's a shot of two of our three elves with hats for the season. More pics will follow.

Fill Your Belly at Vic's Deli

I grabbed a sandwich Monday at Vic's Deli at the intersection of Alcoa Highway and Topside Road in Blount County near La and Stew's place. I've commented before about my surprise that steamed deli sandwiches aren't common in Nashville. Vic the Greek makes a mean hoagie, and it was nice to know he's still there making killer sandwiches.

Home from the Hospital

Stew brought La and Grace home from the hospital yesterday evening, and Les and Fraz and I went over in their new set of wheels to see everyone at home. Grace was asleep in her car seat, and La seemed relieved to be at home with everything going smoothly. I ended up camping out at Stately Fuzzy Manor last night to give Mom some quiet time to get to feeling better and to facilitate getting my car out of the shop. It must have worked, because Mom felt well enough to return to work this morning, and Ogle's Auto Center got my car back on the road by noon.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Now for the Hard Part

Sherry and the kids just packed up and left for home. I feel lonesome already. I've never been away from Sherry for more than a night or two since April 2002, and I already know I don't like it. Damned tears.

One More Day in the Hospital

La sounded like she was feeling better today, but she decided to stay one more day and night in the hospital to be sure everything is okay before she heads home. Grace is doing well, and I'm sure they'll be ready to be home tomorrow.

The Fuzzimobile


Les and Fraz have been living with one car, a Jeep, for some time now. Since Fraz drives for a living, that has left Les without a ride on most workdays, though Fraz has a fairly flexible schedule. They just bought a brand new 2007 Toyota Yaris, pictured above, though they got theirs in black.

Space Station Viewing

The International Space Station will be visible at 7:00 a.m. eastern time this morning, not 6:00 a.m. as I reported earlier. If anyone is actually awake and reading this at this hour of the morning, you can see it in twenty minutes, if the sky is clear where you are in the U.S. I'm in Knoxville, and it's too cloudy to see it here. It's 60 degrees, though.

Uncle Steve

I've now had several friends call me "Uncle Steve" in celebration of the birth of my niece, so I'm trying that whole concept on for size. My sisters have both for years teased that when they had kids, they would tell them, "He's not your uncle." This is because, well, I'm crazy, at least when I'm not working and can afford to be.

Dad was an only child, so on his side the uncles were actually my great-uncles, husbands of my grandmother's sisters. Aunt Vesta and Uncle Earl, Aunt Lucy and Uncle Charlie, Aunt Fay and Uncle Aubrey, and Grandmother and Granddaddy visited each other constantly, since they all lived near one another. I remember Earl as a big bear of a man, formerly sheriff of Coffee County. (The newspaper reported that he couldn't help but be elected, as there was a Spencer sister at every polling place.) I remember that Charlie would sing when Lucy played piano, and in fact, the whole Brandon family performed. Aubrey and Fay were quite a pair. Their son, my cousin Jim, has some wonderful videotape Aubrey took when they were young, including when Harry Truman visited Tullahoma and Aunt Fay yelled, "Give 'em hell, Harry!"

On Mom's side, her brother, whom we know as Uncle Mack, used to take me fishing when we'd visit Grandmother Isenhour in Hickory, North Carolina. He could almost always put you on a school of crappie and bring you home with a string of fish. I also remember that there was a rope swing at Grandmother Isenhour's house and that Mack could push you and send you swinging incredibly high in the air. He could also climb the rope all the way up to the branch it was tied to, which seemed really high to me back then.

Saturday's Events

We went to the hospital to check on La yesterday morning, and she wasn't feeling well at all. Joey and Jake got to see Grace in the nursery, though, and then we dropped them off with Uncle Stew and Andrew so they could ride up to Gatlinburg to assemble a pool table at the new cabin up there. Mom and I dropped Sherry back off at the hospital to attend Laura, and by the time she got back to the room, Laura's friend Rhonda was there, so she was in good hands.

Mom and I took the Boong with us and did some much-needed grocery shopping, then went back to Mom's to keep Sarah occupied. She took a spin on her tricycle, and we set up the Cinderella tent she got for Christmas. Mom eventually coaxed her back into her room to watch cartoons, so I was able to check in with some of the gang. I talked to Chuck and Lisa McClary, who are now living in Sevier County near La and Stew's new cabin, for the first time in ages. I also talked to Johnny and Karen George, and Johnny just got Teddy's room finished off in a UT football decor, which should surprise no one who knows him.

Mom drove back over to the hospital to pick up Sherry and the boys later in the day, and since the doc had attended to Laura, she was feeling much better. Back at Mom's, J&J had some good play time with Sarah, and they all three were in that tent at one point. We made the quiche for supper, but I forgot the diced ham at the grocery store, so it was a vegetarian version. We still have half of it uncooked, so I may pick up the ham for it today.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Big Soccer News

I'm not going to pretend like I know anything about professional soccer, but I know that David Beckham is a pretty famous soccer player, because the boys have a jersey with his name on it. Beckham, who has been playing for a team in Madrid, Spain, has signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy, hoping to further popularize the game in the United States.

It will be interesting. The most popular sports in this country are uniquely American, but soccer seems to have grown tremendously since I was a kid. I never knew anyone who played soccer when I was a kid, though we did play about a week of it in seventh grade as I recall. Now it seems like everybody's kids play it. That means there's a generation of soccer players here looking to see their sport popularized like football, baseball and basketball.

Still, it's difficult to imaging Americans getting excited about the World Cup in the same way that football fans get excited about the Super Bowl or baseball fans get excited about the World Series. Having been in Brussels, Belgium, after France won a big soccer game, I've seen that Europeans take soccer pretty seriously. We'll see.

Look, Up in the Sky!

It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's the International Space Station! It was only visible for about a minute this morning, and I missed it. It's supposed to be visible tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. eastern time for about five minutes, and it will look like a very slow shooting star. The article I read said a telescope or binoculars would be handy, but you should be able to see it with the naked eye.

More Pics from the Park


These three photos are from our outing to the Red Caboose Park near our house. Sarah had some pretty crazy hair going that day, due to static electricity. We're expecting a roll of film to go online from our photo service any day now, and we still need to get some photos of Grace developed so I can post them.


Now My Car's in the Shop

Yesterday when we went to pick up Sherry's car, we loaded into my Nissan Sentra, and it barely started. It's the first time I've ever had any trouble with it starting, so we left it at the shop when we picked up Sherry's. Chuck, the mechanic, said it's the starter.

Friday, January 12, 2007

News From UT Hospital

We went over to see La this afternoon, and she's now in her own room. We hung out for about an hour, and then headed back over to Fuzzy Manor. We got to ride on a golf cart this time from the parking garage to the front door of the hospital, which was worth the $2.00 they pay you to park over there if you have a loved one to visit. We all pretty much agreed that it isn't very nice to charge people to park at a hospital, even though we had the two bucks handy.

La is fine, though now feeling her surgical wounds. Grace is behaving as a healthy baby should, which means she's sleeping and hungry in shifts. New mother pee is apparently valuable, as they are requiring Laura to save hers for later analysis. Unfortunately, Sarah found a pot full of it and decided to splash in it, then grab me with urine-covered hands. Damn!

Jake and Joey are Here

Joey and Jake just arrived here at Mom's, and everyone is munching out on Chinese food, except Ta. She's eating ice cream.

Friday Morning in Maryville

We dropped Sherry's car by Ogle's Auto Shop in Alcoa on Wednesday and need to go pick it up and check the post office box in Maryville this morning. Mary from Judge Denton's chambers called yesterday afternoon with a juvenile court case for me, but we were visiting the baby and missed the call. She already got someone else, but I'll probably stick my head in the door over there anyway. I'd say Sherry will probably want to spend part of the morning at the hospital, and I'll probably meet up with her there after making the rounds in Maryville. (As you might expect, Friday afternoons are often quiet times around the courthouse, especially before a three-day-weekend.) I also have some telephone calls to make and some paperwork as well, so I'll at least get my calls returned. I'll probably work on the paperwork over the long weekend.

Oh, I hear a Ta-Ta waking up.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Grace Ellisa Olga Graham

Stew and La wanted to honor their families in naming their daughter, and so she is blessed with two middle names. Our paternal grandfather, who most of my friends know as my Granddaddy, went by his middle name, Ellis. (He was William Ellis Ogle, but Grandmother was Willie J. Ogle. She went by Bill.) Stew's Mom is Olga.

Report from the Recovery Room

We just got back to the Fuzzies place from visiting with La and Stew and Grace at the hospital, and Gracie is a most beautiful baby. She woke up hungry and has had a go at nursing. The nurse that was in attendance while we were there said that she was doing great. La was still a bit groggy, but declining pain medication. Stew ran back to their house to check messages and E-mail while we were there to keep La company. When we left, I had the distinct impression that the mother was ready to snuggle in with her babe and perhaps nap after her husband returns. We told her to call us if she wants company again, but I suspect that La, Stew and Grace will enjoy settling in for some quiet family time.

I suppose I should post Grace's vital statistics. She was seven pounds and eight and a half ounces at birth, and she was 21 and 1/8 inches long. Unlike her cousin, Grace is sporting no stork bites. We all got to hold her, and she was very good-natured and sweet. We'll get some photos posted as soon as we can.

Grace is Here

Laura and Stewart's daughter, Grace Ellisa Olga Graham, was born at 12:47 this afternoon by Ceasarian section. Mother and baby and father are all fine, and we're heading to the hospital as soon as the women here stop crying.

Pregoblogging From Leslie's House

Well, the truth is that there is really nothing new to report from the hospital. We're here at Leslie's in South Knoxville, which is only about ten minutes from UT Hospital. Mom, Sherry, Leslie, Boong and I are here, and Fuzzy is at work. Leslie is as nervous as a cat. In our lives, it has usually been Les in the hospital, Laura and I have been the ones waiting for news from the doctors. Wannie's gone down for a nap, and we're hoping she can coax Sarah to do the same.

Scoop from the Hospital

We learned why La's doc hasn't been to see her yet. Two other mothers came into the hospital in emergency situations, so he's got two babies to deliver before he gets to La. I think we're about to head to Stately Fuzzy Manor.

Snow on the Mountains and a Big Pig

It was clear here in East Tennessee yesterday, and you could see a bit of snow on the peaks of the Smokies. Also, I just read an article linked to the Knoxville News Sentinel's Smokies blog that said a man shot an 1,100 pound wild boar in northern Georgia.

I've had a couple of experiences with wild boar. The first was up on Gregory's Bald in the mid-1980's on an overnight backpacking trip. Just as we got to the bald and started to relax we heard a snort that was obviously from something bigger than a human. The camping area was on the other side of the bald at the foot of the hill, and we all ran like hell off that bald and down to camp. I remember my friend John Penland, a/k/a Yukon John a/k/a Hiawatha, had a Charlie horse hiking up the last bit of the bald. He was also a smoker at the time, and was really having a hard time. In fact, I remember helping to push him up the hill. When he heard that pig snort, he was miraculously cured, and led the pack of us down the other side of the bald. I found myself a safe spot in a tree and made a ramp so I could get up there quick if the boar showed up. (They usually are in groups.) Fortunately, we didn't see or hear anything more of them on that trip.

The other experience I had with boar was on the road from Tallassee, Tennessee, to Helen, Georgia, and I happened upon a group of maybe six or seven boar rooting around on the side of the road in the mountains. I can't say whether I was in Tennessee or Georgia, but it was certainly near the border.

Epidural is In

We just heard from La at about 10:00 a.m. They've got the epidural in, but no medicine in it yet. The baby has not turned, and the doc is supposed to try and make that happen. If it doesn't, then they'll wheel her into the operating room for the C-section. She still had not seen the doctor when she called at 10:00.

Laura's at the Hospital

La checked into the hospital at 7:00 a.m. She should give birth by noon. I'll post an update when we have news and a computer. We're going to have breakfast and head over there shortly. She's at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Back at Wannie's

Mom caught up with us over at the Fuzzies' place, and we went on the local Cancun Mexican Restaurant from there. The food was great, but the service was unfortunately lame. We're back at Mom's house and resting up for the big day at the hospital tomorrow. I'll post if I can.

At Casa Del Prego

We're here at La and Stew's place, and La is doing fine and ready to head to the hospital in the morning about 7:00 a.m. We're heading to Les and Fraz's next.

Where's Your New Office?

Sherry, Sarah and I spent the afternoon visiting the justice center and courthouse in Maryville, which was quite enjoyable. Everyone kept asking "Where's your new office?" My reply was, "It's the green Nissan Sentra out in the parking lot." We saw a bunch of old friends, including one of my former law partners, Duncan, who was very supportive. It is beginning to feel like a homecoming.

Look At My Shoes!

I just got back from the Johnston & Murphy outlet store out on Campbell Station Road in Knoxville and found a decent pair of tasselled loafers that fit. I haven't been able to wear the last pair of dress shoes I bought because of my bunions, which are painful in a tight shoe. The guy at the shoe store recommended that I get my size in a wide shoe, and they seem to fit.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Spittin' Image

I read an interesting article about the saying, "She's the spittin' image of her mother." What I learned was that the expression is derived from "spirit and image." "She's the spirit and image of her mother." She looks like her mother, and has her spirit as well. No spit is involved.

Technology Run Awry

I am a lawyer, which means most of what I do involves the spoken or written word, or just thought. I'm far from technically savvy, though I can hook up a stereo. I've been dealing with tech types on the telephone all week on a number of different fronts, and although I spent the better part of an hour this morning trying to get our internet up at the house, I had no luck. Accordingly, I have made no posts to this blog since I was at the Bellevue branch of the Nashville Public Library several days ago.

Latest on La

Laura is due to check into the University of Tennessee Medical Center Thursday, January 11, at 7:00 a.m., and when she and Stewart depart that facility, they will do so with infant Gracie in tow. Hopefully, UT Medical Center will have an internet connection in the waiting area so I can do some birth blogging.

I gave La a call from the Cumberland Plateau, because I know she loves mountains and snow, and she seems in good spirits and into a mode of nesting in preparation for her daughter's arrival. That seems like a good thing. She'd better get some rest. She's going to need it.

Sherry, Sarah and Steve Arrive at Wannie's -- And Trash the Place

We just got to Mom's house this afternoon after a fairly nice drive across the plateau, where there was enough snow to be pretty and enough sunshine to be cheerful. We've unloaded, and although I brought three suits, I brought no dress shoes. Curses! I have a serious sartorial conundrum.

Mom is still at work, but plans to be here in about an hour. We've made a compact about our encroachment on her home, which is that we'll all have to pretty much do our thing and cross paths as our schedules permit. Of course, with Laura set to deliver a baby this week, we'll all be focused on La, Stew, Andrew, Gracie and UT Hospital, so schedules are pretty much to the wind.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Latest on El Prego

Laura is supposed to check into the hospital the morning of next Thursday, January 11, for her C-section, which is scheduled at noon. This is going to cause me to reschedule my first dentist appointment with the dentist I grew up with, which is terribly inconvenient. I suggested that Laura reschedule, but she didn't like that idea.

Library Blogging

The folks from BellSouth and two utility trucks working on getting phone service to the new Publix shopping complex across the street this week, and last night our phone service went down. Since our home computer is connected to the internet by telephone line, we are offline. I had to come here to the Bellevue branch of the local public library to check my E-mail, and I thought put up a post.

Jake and Joey's friend, Carson, is having a birthday party at a roller skating rink in Franklin, and so we're going to go see which one of us breaks a leg first. I think I'll use the time to balance our checkbook, so as not to damage anything besides my mind. One of the local court reporting firms I use, Elite Court Reporting, gave us a gift card to a restaurant in Franklin for Christmas, so if the restaurant is open for lunch we'll give them a try. (If they're good, I'll even give them a plug.)

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Audiobook Review: Black Mutiny

My sister Laura (also known as "El Prego," at least for a few more days) recently lent me an audiobook, Black Mutiny: The Revolt on the Schooner Amistad, by William A. Owens. It's an historical fiction, and the jacket says that it was a "key historical reference for the Major Motion Picture Amistad." For those unfamiliar with the story, a group of Africans who were kidnapped from Africa took over the Amistad en route to the Americas during the administration of President Martin Van Buren, who succeeded Andrew Jackson as President.

The legal snarl in which the Africans found themselves, to quote Judge Daugherty of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, "would delight a mediveal property lawyer." The case turned on nothing less than the humanity of the Africans, inasmuch as their Spanish captors maintained they were merely property. The case was argued before the Supreme Court of the United States by former President John Quincy Adams, who was then a member of the House of Representatives and adversary of the Jacksonians. The Africans were freed and taken home, along with missionaries to spread the gospel in Africa.

I was not really familiar with this story, and I would like to read some nonfiction about it. I find that I have a bit of aversion to historical fiction. It seems a bit dishonest, even though it's usually clear that it is fiction.

Movie Review: The Day After Tomorrow

Sherry took the kids to the video store last night, and they came home with several flicks. We watched the disaster movie, The Day After Tomorrow. The premise is that a new ice age comes about suddenly, causing torandoes to destroy Los Angeles and a tsunami and sudden freeze to destroy New York. It was worth watching, though the main plot line, which involved a climatologist (Dennis Quaid) traveling in the blizzard from Washington, DC, to New York to find and rescue his college-aged son and friends, was implausible to say the least. It was worth it for the special effects. Also, the actor who played Bilbo in the Lord of the Rings flicks plays a scientist in the movie.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

What the Hell is a Nittany Lion Anyway?

Sherry asked me yesterday what a Nittany Lion was, and I had to confess that I did not know. This confounds me, as my sweet wife expects me to know such things. I remedied the deficiency via the magic of the internet this morning. I did a Google search for "Nittany Lion" and got more than I wanted to know.

There is a mountain that overlooks State College, Pennsylvania, and the campus of Penn State, and sure enough, it's called Nittany Mountain. "Nittany" is the Native American (Algonquin, to be presice) word for this topographical feature, meaning "one mountain." The Nittany Lion is just a mountain lion (cougar) that roams those hills. If you want to read more about it, hit Google. (The site I found even had a Nittany Mountain webcam.)

I feel so much better.

Penn State Defeats Tennessee in Outback Bowl

The Penn State Nittany Lions defeated my University of Tennessee Volunteers 20-10 yesterday in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida. It was a pretty sloppy game on both sides, and the running back for Penn State ran all over Tennessee's defense, what there was of it, as my Graddaddy would have said. Somewhere up in Volunteer heaven, my Dad is cursing, and Granddaddy's just shaking his head.

Monday, January 1, 2007

New Year's Eve 2007

We spent yesterday visiting La and Stew so Sherry could help La go through baby clothes and then hanging out a bit at Les and Fraz's place, where we watched football and ate pizza. We came back over to Mom's in time to whip up a batch of turkey tetrazzini, which turned out pretty good.

I went to bed early (even for me) in order to get up to ring in the New Year, but Sherry came to bed about 11:30 p.m. and said, "If you've seen one ball drop, you've seen them all." Accordingly, I rolled back over and went back to sleep; however, the whole neighborhood must have had fireworks, because it sounded like a battle zone for about an hour after midnight.

I got up early this morning in order to finish and print an affidavit I'd been drafting on Mom's computer so I can get it and the documents that go with it to the copy shop tomorrow so I'll have them for court Wednesday.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!