Friday, August 31, 2007

Report from Sarah's Doctor

When Sherry headed for work this morning, Sarah and I headed for Knoxville and Mom's. We had breakfast at Waffle House before taking Sarah to see her doctor, and he was pleased by her progress. I got a better understanding of the lacrimal apparatus and Sarah's injury.

The lower, larger lacrimal duct was severed, and the tissue at the place where it connects into the nose was destroyed to the point that the lower duct is pretty much useless. The smaller, upper duct was undamaged, and the surgeon is hopeful that the smaller duct can handle the job by itself. Time will tell.

We have an appointment for next Friday for Sarah's stitches to be removed, and then we'll pretty much be observing her to see if she has problems with tears draining from her right eye. We're to call the doctor with a report in about two months.

The Big Four-Four

Today is my 44th birthday, though we're celebrating it with a tie-dye party tomorrow. I generally try to keep my schedule clear for my birthday, but I've got to take Sarah for an appointment with her eye surgeon at 10:30 this morning. We're very interested to hear what he has to say. I think Wannie is going to go with us, and it sounds like Sarah will end up spending the night with her tonight. Sherry's going to drive to Cookeville from work to pick up Joey and Jake, who will be here through Monday, and they probably won't be home until around 9:00 p.m.

It sounds like Louie has managed to wake Sarah up.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pimiento Cheese Recipe

Sherry found this in the Sentinel today. We've been looking for a Pimiento Cheese recipe for a while. I'll report after we've made it.

Masterful pimiento cheese, Southern style

1 pound sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 medium-size sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, cut into quarters
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimientos, drained
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Shred or grate cheese to medium-chunky texture and place in large bowl. Put
onion and garlic through food grinder or food processor and stir into cheese.
Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, pimientos and cayenne pepper. Add salt and pepper.
Cover mixture tightly and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight to let
flavors blend. Yield: 6-8 servings.
Note: This can be prepared up to 3 days in advance. Keep refrigerated in
airtight container.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Water from the Sky?

The strangest thing happened on the way to pick Boong up from school in East Maryville. Droplets of water started falling from the sky! I have a vague recollection that this phenomenon was once fairly common, but I'm sure that must just be a myth from the early human past. Anyway, when we got back home on the west side of town, there was no sign of water having fallen from the sky.

Restaurant Review -- Tostones Cuban Cuisine

I had lunch this afternoon at a new restaurant in Maryville, Tostones Cuban Cuisine, which is located in Midland Plaza. Mom and Ron used to live in South Florida, and we have dined on Cuban food in Little Havana in Miami. The food is much more like Southern home cooking than Mexican food -- rib stickin' food. I had the traditional Cuban pork sandwich, which was excellent, and the dishes of food I saw going past me to other tables looked and smelled wonderful.

The CEO, Maritza Perez, and the general manager, Lynn Ellington, both introduced themselves to me and were very nice. They said that if you crave any particular Cuban dish and let them know ahead of time, they will prepare it especially for you. There was a baby grand in the place, and they said they feature live entertainment from time to time. Tostones gets a thumbs-up from me!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Out of the Heat

I realized late this morning that I had a meeting at the Department of Children's Services on one of my juvenile court cases at 1:30 this afternoon. Since I needed to stop by the downtown Maryville First Tennessee Bank, where my erstwhile law firm is located, I checked in to see if my former law partner might be available for lunch. He was, and we had a sandwich at the Palace Cafe, which is in the same building. I used to have lunch with Duncan just about every day, and we both enjoy it when we find the time to have lunch together these days.

After my meeting at DCS concluded and I had checked our post office box, I picked up Sarah from day care. She had another good day, and she gets to participate in gymnastics with her class tomorrow, so she's excited about that. We're just waiting for Sherry to get home at this point.

Mom, Laura and Grace's Hickory Trip

Mom and La and Grace came by Sunday on the way home from their trip to Hickory, North Carolina. Mom grew up there, and we all lived there for several years in the Eighties. Our second cousins, Jon and Scott Zimmerman, and their parents, Barbara and Walter, still live there, so they got to visit with them and with our friend, Patrick Hutchinson, who just moved back to Hickory from Charlotte.

We all still keep in contact with Leslie's former boyfriend, Robert, and Laura and Grace met up with him. Since Laura and Leslie are identical twins, Robert had much fun telling all his buddies that Laura was Leslie and baby Grace was their love child. I'm sure it was quite humorous, knowing Robert.

They attended a wedding while they were there. Mom worked for many years for Dr. Charles Trado, a psychiatrist, and L&L have always been close to the Trados. Mom's friend Janet, who also worked for Dr. Trado, was the mother of the bride. It sounded like a beautiful wedding and a fun shindig.

I have a lot of friends from Hickory and Lenoir, and I really want to take Sherry and J&J and Sarah over there to make the rounds. This past weekend was just on too short a notice for us this time. I probably need to devote a vacation week to it to really see everything and everyone I'd like to see, especially since not all my North Carolina friends really talk to each other any more. Jake and Joey have seen some photos of Sherry and I sitting on an underwater rock (the lazy boy rock) at Wilson Creek gorge, and they've been asking to go ever since. It would also be nice to take them up to Blowing Rock, where Mom and Ron used to live. Sarah would love Tweetsie Railroad, since she digs trains.

Boongablogger Editorial Note

The purpose of this blog is and always has been to chronicle our family events and to provide a source for family and friends to see what's been going on in our household without the burden of being stuck on the telephone with me for God-knows-how-long. (I know how I am.) I generally try not to spread bad news, since that's no fun to read about, but I thought I should share what happened to Sarah, since this is also a journal of our family history.

Although Sherry and I and our whole family are obviously focused on Sarah's recovery, I do not intend for this blog to become a running commentary on her healing process. I will post updates occasionally, especially when we get more information from the doctor, but I now return you to your regularly scheduled Boongablogger.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lacrimal Ducts

The lacrimal ducts are pictured here, and are labeled as the superior and inferior lacrimal canals.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Update on Sarah

Sarah woke up this morning with her right eye glued shut from discharge from her wounds, but it opened 45 minutes or so after she woke up. It's still pretty swollen and tender, but Sarah is bearing up pretty well considering what she's been through. She has two scratches across her right upper eyelid that weren't as noticeable yesterday since the area was so red. Her appetite is good, and she's up and about, so we hope we can send her to day care tomorrow.

Sarah's Dog Bite

Dear Friends and Family:

Our precious Sarah was bitten in the face Friday night by a friend's dog. The worst injury was a gash in her right lower eyelid. She also has a puncture wound at the top of her forehead, a laceration diagonally across the forehead and two lacerations across the upper right eyelid.

The good news is that the eye itself is sound, and her vision seems to be unaffected. Also, the surgeon believes that the wounds will heal so that they will be difficult to notice. (The lower eyelid wound is from the corner of the eye nearest the nose in a crescent shape gash about a third of the way across the lower eyelid.)

The bad news is that the bite severed two ducts called the lacrimal ducts, that convey tears away from the eye and into the nasal passages. The surgeon hoped to be able to open these tiny structures by means of stints, but the tissue was too damaged for the stints. To give you an idea how tiny the lacrimal ducts are, the stints measure about .1 to .2 millimeters. The lifelong problem she will probably have to deal with is improper tear drainage, since the lacrimal ducts are so damaged, and greater frequency of eye infections.

Sarah's spirits are good, and she has been very brave for a three-year-old who has been bitten in the face by a Labrador-sized dog. As you might expect, this has been traumatic for the whole family.

As most of you know, I was bitten in the mouth by a small dog, a cairn terrier, when I was about six. The same dog about tore my sister Leslie's face off a year later, when she was about five. It required 47 stiches to close Leslie's wounds, and the terrier all but bit her nose off. I hated dogs before one attacked our child. The dog that attacked Sarah is under quarantine and will be destroyed Monday. It's shots were current, but it will still be tested for rabies.

Steve and Sherry

Friday, August 24, 2007

First Boongablogger Video

Blogger has introduced a new feature to allow videoblogging. For my first video post, I submit the Father's Day piece Laura made for me.

Sherry's Volvo

Sherry's auto, pictured here with Joey, came home from the shop this afternoon, and we're only out $130.00 to replace the radiator hose and antifreeze. We should be in good shape for the coming winter, and what's left of this hot summer!

Mom, Laura and Grace Headed to Carolina

Mom and La and Gracie are just leaving town for a weekend trip to Hickory, North Carolina, where they are going to attend a wedding. Since we all lived there in the Eighties (Actually, I lived in the nearby town of Granite Falls during most of my time there.), they'll also get to catch up with our Zimmerman cousins and friends in the area. Les has a bug, and we're still dealing with respiratory infections over here at our house, so we'll have to make the trip over the mountains to see everyone some other time.

Happy 70th Birthday to My Dad

My father, Phillip Ellis Ogle, was born on this day in 1937, so today would have been his 70th birthday. He died in July 1993, about a month before his 56th birthday. I always miss Dad more this time of year, when football season is upon us, inasmuch as he was a big UT football fan.

Although I was thirty when Dad died, I was just beginning my professional career, and I have missed sharing a lot with my father due to his early death. It was only after he died that I read some of his professional work as an urban planner, and realized how brilliant he was. To me, he was just good ol' Dad. I would have liked to have shared more of my "grown up" life with him, and I especially regret that he never knew Sherry, Jake and Joey and Sarah, and vice versa. He would have loved them.

Steve's Doppleganger

From time to time I do a Google search for myself to see whether or not clients could find me online. I discovered I have a doppleganger in British Columbia, Canada. The Canadian Steve Ogle is a photographer, with some really cool photos on his website.

Backcountry Fires in the Smokies

I read a post on the News Sentinel's AllSmokies blog yesterday that opined that the current ban on fires at the backcountry campsites should be permanent. The author considers himself a veteran hiker, and believes that only rookie backpackers build campfires on backcountry hikes.

I absolutely agree that it would be foolish to build a campfire in the woods when the woods are as dry as tinder from drought; however, it would greatly lessen my enjoyment of an overnight hike in cold weather if I could not enjoy looking forward to a campfire to dry out my boots and gear when I reach the campsite.

The whole veteran/rookie language struck me as elitist. ("I'm a real hiker, and you're not.") I've put a few miles on my hiking boots in my day and been a regular denizen of the forest since I was a scout, and I always build a fire on any camping trip, as long as there is dead wood and no drought. It's a big part of the enjoyment of camping to me.

Open Fires Banned in Knox County

I hope that people have the good sense not to set a fire in this weather anyway, but Knox County has banned open fires due to the drought.

Photos from Ponderosa Petting Zoo

When Joey and Jake were here for their last week of the summer with us, Sherry took the kids to the Ponderosa Petting Zoo outside of Clinton, Tennessee. Here's a photo of our three kids, and a bunch of other kids, adult goats and even a big white dog.
Joey made friends with this baby goat, whose mother goat was keeping close tabls on him.
I posted a photo of myself and this camel not too long ago. Jake figured out how to really be his friend.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Photos of Andrew's Departure

Here are a couple of photos of Andrew heading out for college.

Abandoned French Bread Pizza

When we left the Volvo at Ogle's Auto Center yesterday morning, we forgot to take the French bread pizza Sherry had packed for lunch out of her car. It's been in the 100 degree heat since around 11:00 a.m. yesterday. It may have grown legs and walked off.

Sheriff Cruisers at Screaming Lady's House

We have a neighbor with an anger-management problem. She frequently screams at her kids, especially early in the morning when she's trying to get them loaded in her car. I saw a Sheriff cruiser over there last week, and there are two there this morning, though I haven't heard any screaming (yet).


The doctor's office called me just as I was heading out of court yesterday to let me know I could pick up antibiotics at my local Walgreens. It's the five dose Z-Pack, and I took the first dose when I got home. I'm still pretty clogged up, but I slept a bit better last night. I fear Sherry's starting to really come down with it, too, and she already had to miss work yesterday because of her car.

Fortunately the problem with her car was more dramatic than anything else. It blew out a coolant hose, but Chuck has to order the hose from Volvo. Hopefully his crew will get it fixed by this afternoon.

I'm going to assign myself mainly to bedrest today, and try to shake this illness, so Sherry will take the Nissan to work. I'll run Sarah to school while Sherry gets ready this morning.

Smokies Road Work

Cades Cove Loop road rehabilitation contract work is expected in 2009.
The Maryville Daily Times is reporting today that there are several road projects coming to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the near future. Work on Parsons Branch Road continues. Here are the other projects:

A contract to repair and stabilize the Indian Face rock outcropping, damaged in a landslide, on Little River Road will be awarded in 2007 or 2008.

A contract to repair landslide damage on Foothills Parkway West, two miles from the intersection of U.S. 321 and the Foothills Parkway, will be awarded in 2008.

A contract for repaving the stretch of U.S. 441 between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge could be awarded as early as next month.

Park officials announced in July that the current phase of construction towards completion of the 1.6 mile-long “Missing Link” of the Foothills Parkway will not be finished by September as anticipated.
The landslide on Foothills Parkway completely covers the road, and you have to detour off around the pile of rocks. It will be nice to have that cleared away.

Andrew Departs for College

My sister Laura's stepson Andrew left yesterday to begin his college career at Tulane, in New Orleans, where he will study architecture. Everyone seems to agree that it was a very brave decision to move away from home, but that you couldn't pick a better place to pursue a career in architecture than New Orleans, which will be being rebuilt for years after Hurricane Katrina.

He took off to Montgomery, Alabama, to see his mom, and then she will take him over to the Big Easy. Stewart is going to fly in to join them in several days.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bad Day

In addition to my affliction, Sherry's car broke down on Alcoa Highway on her way to work. It was running hot, so hopefully it's the radiator and nothing more serious. We just left it at Chuck Ogle's shop, and he said he'd be able to let us know something by this afternoon. Fortunately, I don't have any court tomorrow or Friday, so Sherry can take my car to work if hers isn't ready.

Backcountry Campfires Banned in Smokies

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has banned fires in backcountry campsites until further notice due to the dry conditions. Campfires are still allowed in the developed campgrounds.

Virulent Pestilence

Ugghhhh! I woke up last night at midnight with my throat on fire. I'm definitely calling the doc this morning. Unfortunately, I have court all day, including three cases on the afternoon juvenile court docket. It's going to be another long day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

First Red Cross Board Meeting

I have my first meeting this morning as a newly elected member of the board of directors of the Blount County Chapter of the American Red Cross. I've been asked to sit on the executive committee, and I'm excited about the opportunity to serve.

The chapter house is about five minutes from home, but Sarah's school is about twenty minutes away in the other direction, so we'll have to leave at 7:00 this morning in order for me to get back over to this side of town for Red Cross. Then I have to drive back into town for juvenile court at 9:00. Sherry is training this week, and she has to be at work in Powell, about 30 minutes away, at 8:30. It will be a busy morning.

First Crud of the Season

The children are back in the schools, those festering breeding grounds of infectious disease, and apparently Sarah has already brought us home the first sore throats of the season. Both Sherry and I noticed infection setting in yesterday. I'm glad we all got hooked up with doctors beforehand.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Chasin' String

One of Sarah's favorite activities is to run a string under the noses of our cats, so that they chase after the string. It entertains both her and the cats. She calls this game, and the string itself "chasin' string." She started this off with my dental floss, but I redirected her to some white twine I had in my camping gear. She's not too far from using up the spool of twine, which has been riding in my camping gear for many years. It's going to a good cause.

Mad Goat Island

On Friday I got to introduce Sherry to Gilbert Frye, who is a very nice retired First Tennessee Bank official. I served on the Red Cross board with Gilbert here in Maryville, and he also has a lake house on Louisville Lake across from Mad Goose Island, where I had established a wonderful campsite when I lived out there.

After I moved to Nashville, someone, allegedly the Tennessee Valley Authority, put two goats out there on my island. I don't know what the goats did out there, but Gilbert says they're gone now, precluding the goat roast I had planned. I look forward to inspecting the island before fall sets in. I hope goats like to eat poison ivy and privet hedge, both of which I had almost eradicated at one point.

Tullahoma Applebee's

My friend Robin sent me some photos from when we met her and her family at Applebee's in Tullahoma. The water was out at the cabin, so I was having a bad hair day (as if I ever have a good hair day).

Kitty's Return

Like many little kids, Sarah has a special stuffed animal that is her favorite. It's supposed to be a kitty, and it pretty much looked dead when it was brand new. In fact, I carried it around Gatlinburg the day we bought it as if it were dead, and the crowds parted on the sidewalk to let us pass.

Anyway, Sarah left Kitty at Wannie's a couple of weeks ago, and seems to have done just fine without it. Ta just came downstairs, and she's lugging Kitty.

Monday's Here

I have a meeting with Cate-Russell Insurance Agency today. Our current coverage is through a Nashville agency, and I figure it will be easier to deal with an agent in town. It may be cheaper, too. Sherry reports to work at 8:30 this morning for her second week on her new job, so we'll all probably leave the house at 8:00 a.m. I've got some other errands to run in town, as usual, but I expect I'll be back in time to get some office work done at home this afternoon.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

La and Grace and the Grasshopper

La and Grace came by for a visit this afternoon, and they tried some green pasta, Sam-I-Am. They just departed. Sherry and Sarah have captured a cool grasshopper, and I've been trying to snatch a pebble from his hand, so far to no avail.

Sarrah's Green Noodle Chicken Casserole

We just finished supper, and now have yet another casserole in our arsenal. This one is from Sherry's favorite cookbook, Calling All Cooks, and we admit that the name of the dish caught our attention, even if "Sarrah" had one "r" too many. This dish requires a 5 to 6 pound yard trotter, baked and boned. Sautee one cup celery, one cup onion, a container of fresh mushrooms (or a can of 'em) and a quarter cup bell pepper. The recipe calls for green pasta, and we used spirals. Mix with a can of cream of chicken, a can of cream of mushroom soup and a half pound of Velveeta cheese. Top with parm and bake at 350 for an hour. We served ours with sour cream. I will sleep well tonight.

Hand-Me-Down Television

Mom bought a new flat-screen TV for her house, just in time for football season. In accord with family tradition, she handed the old one down to us. It's a lot bigger than the television it replaces; however, we moved the HUGE door chest that contained our old television out to the garage, so the room seems a lot emptier. We'll actually be able to display some family photos and/or artwork on the walls of our den.

Dwindling Garden

I've been pulling up plants from our container garden this week. The marigolds started looking shabby, and the mint plant turned sour quite some time ago, though it was quite fragrant when I pulled it up. Sarah pulled the last tomato from one of our tomato plants yesterday before I added it to the pile. The remaining tomato plant has a small tomato on it, but I'm not sure if it will ripen. I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt so far.

Our impatiens plants still look nice, but they are drinking a lot of water.

Shuttle Report

The Shuttle Endeavor is returning to Earth a day early to avoid the possibility of problems from Hurricane Dean, which is roaring toward Jamaica. Little Bimini was evacuated due to the storm. NASA decided against conducting a space walk to repair the damage on the underside of the shuttle that occurred during liftoff.

I ran across this cartoon this morning and grinned. My grandmother, Queen of Duct Tape Repairs, would be proud.

Restaurant Linderhof, The Irish Times and Savelli's

I just took a spin through this week's Metro Pulse, and noticed a couple of new restaurants I'd like to try. There's a German diner, Restaurant Linderhof, in Farragut. There's also an Irish restaurant, The Irish Times, in the Turkey Creek development.

I also saw an ad for Savelli's, an Italian restaurant on Sutherland Avenue we used to patronize in our college days. Back then, they didn't serve alcohol, but you could brown bag your own in. We'd usually pick up beer at the place next door. I remember they had a nice, quaint atmosphere, and really good Italian cuisine. I must be hungry.

Clubbed in the Head

Sarah pulled over Mom's coat rack yesterday evening, and it dealt a hell of a blow to Sherry, right in the head. She did not lose consciousness, but it gave her one hell of a pump knot. I do not deal well with pain, and I especially do not do well seeing my wife in pain. It made for a very unhappy conclusion to our Saturday.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Supper at Mom's

I just got off of the phone with La, and we're going to meet her and Gracie over at Mom's for supper. La has a new casserole she wants to make for us. It is a ground beef, cheese and noodle affair, more about which later. Sarah is excited about spending the night with Wannie tonight. We've given her lots of sugar.

Trip to the Jeweler

We went by Maryville Jewelers today to pick up Dad's watch, which I had dropped off to have a new crystal put on it. They sent it off to Seiko, and it really looks nice. My wedding band has also gotten bent a bit, and they straightened it out and polished it up and treated the white gold so that it looks brand new. I didn't realize how worn it had become, but I'm thrilled at how bright and shiny it is now.

El Sazon Restaurant Review

Sherry and Sarah and I had supper Thursday night at El Sazon, a Mexican restaurant on Alcoa Highway. I used to eat there regularly with my friends Kevin and Sandy before I moved to Nashville. The building where the restaurant used to live burned, and I was happy to discover that they'd reopened in a new building. Local guitar player and singer Dave Landeo, plays there regularly on Wednesday nights, and Sarah likes to dance to his tunes.

I ordered an interesting dish Thursday. It centers around an avocado, which is stuffed with your choice of meat, then covered in Monterrey Jack cheese, breaded and deep-fried. It was wonderful, but definitely more food than one person can eat in one sitting. I would recommend that two people share it, especially since you get complementary chip and salsa. The cheese and avocado affair was really different, but all that fried cheese was very heavy on my stomach.

The word "aguacate" was part of the name of the dish. I've learned that "aguacate" is Spanish for avocado.

More on Sushi

Here's some information from Wikipedia about sushi. The type Sherry likes is the makizushi. The Wikipedia article has a lot of information, including some history.

In Japanese cuisine, sushi is a food made of vinegared rice combined with other ingredients (uncooked and in some cases cooked) such as fish or vegetables.

Outside of Japan, sushi is sometimes misunderstood to mean the raw fish by itself, or even any fresh raw-seafood dishes. In Japan, however, sliced raw fish alone is called sashimi and is distinct from sushi.

There are various types of sushi: sushi served rolled inside nori (dried and pressed layer sheets of seaweed or alga) called makizushi (巻き) or rolls; sushi made with toppings laid with hand-formed clumps of rice called nigirizushi (にぎり); toppings stuffed into a small pouch of fried tofu called inarizushi; and toppings served scattered over a bowl of sushi rice called chirashi-zushi (ちらし).

Lemon Grass Restaurant Review

Even though the power went out, we were still served our lunch at the Lemon Grass Restaurant. I ordered the house salad, and it should never have been served inasmuch as the lettuce was brown. I know there's a drought on, but a restaurant with white tableclothes ought to know better than to serve a brown salad.

Sherry's meal, on the other hand, was delicious. It was a pasta and shrimp dish, with a really interesting spicy-sweet sauce. Sherry has been a sushi fan for some time now, and regularly buys it at our local Kroger. Lemon Grass has a real sushi bar, where you can sit and watch the preparation of the sushi. Sherry ordered her favorites, California roll and Crunchy shrimp roll (no raw food), which she brought home. We had some for supper last night, and it was really fresh and good.

Hot Friday

After Sherry's hellish Wednesday, she was able to leave work early yesterday, so we went to lunch at Lemon Grass, a Thai restaurant and sushi bar in Maryville. We ran a few errands in town, and traffic was a nightmare because of malfunctioning traffic lights in the Foothills Mall area. In the middle of our lunch, the power went out.

I had 1:30 court, and Sherry took me to the courthouse, where we'd left my car and files during our errands. As we pulled in, my adversary, Susan Rushing, was leaving the courthouse. I wanted to introduce Sherry to her, and while we were talking she told me Mayor Cunningham had closed the courthouse. One of the other lawyers in our case zoomed out of the parking lot as we were standing there, and just after he made his escape, the juvenile court administrator told us the power was back on.

As much as I would have loved to get an early start to our weekend, I had caused my client to be transported to town from the penitentiary in Whiteville, so I felt like I better take care of his case since he was here. I also had several other matters to attend to, and it turned out to be a fairly productive afternoon. I even picked up a couple of interesting and unusual cases while I was there.

It turned out the electricity problem was related to a failed breaker, and about 11,000 homes lost power for about twenty minutes.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Gitchee Gumee

I looked up where Gitchee Gumee came from. Here, via the magic of the internet, is what I found:
The name Gitchee Gumee (Ke-che-gum-me) has been derived from the Algonquin native language. Gitchee means "all powerful" and Gumee means "lake". Lake Superior was known by the native people as the "All Powerful Lake".

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

We've just watched a History Channel piece on the sinking of a ship named Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior, and I thought I remembered the name from a song. It was written and performed by Gordon Lightfoot. Here are the lyrics, which tell the story of the storm and the ship's demise.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitchee Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.

With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early

The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go it was bigger than most
With a crew and the Captain well seasoned.

Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ships bell rang
Could it be the North Wind they'd been feeling.

The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the Captain did, too,
Twas the witch of November come stealing.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashing
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane West Wind

When supper time came the old cook came on deck
Saying fellows it's too rough to feed ya
At 7PM a main hatchway caved in
He said fellas it's been good to know ya.

The Captain wired in he had water coming in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the words turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd fifteen more miles behind her.

They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the ruins of her ice water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams,
The islands and bays are for sportsmen.

And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitchee Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.

Photos from Mighty Oak

Here are a few photos from our recent camping trip to Mighty Oak. This was Jake's first fish of the day. He caught about ten small ones, and one decent bass.

Here's a cute photo of Ellie Simpson and Sarah visiting on Bart's deck.

I was impressed at how well Jake and Joey were able to handle Bart's canoe. This is the cove at Mighty Oak.

Gals' Trip to Sunset Ridge

I called Leslie yesterday with the idea that I might meet her and Laura for lunch. Les was swamped and La and Jane went up to Sunset Ridge in Pigeon Forge to spend the day away from the 99 degree heat. (It was only 94 in the mountains.)

Late Shift

Sherry was at work until 9:00 last night, and some of her fellow employees were there overnight. She didn't have to report for duty until 11:00 this morning, and they assured her that this was unusual. If this isn't a Baptism by fire, nothing is.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sherry's Late Day

The publication Sherry is working for has its deadline each week on Wednesday, and the employees are telling her stories about how they stay as late as 9:00 p.m. to meet this deadline. Needless to say, we are concerned by this fact, which wasn't mentioned when she interviewed for the position. She wasn't sure how late they would ask her to stay tonight, and I haven't heard from her yet. Eek.


At long last, Sarah had her first day in gymnastics at her new day care facility, and she loved it. She is especially impressed that they have three trampolines.

My Birthday!

I'm not shy about celebrating my birthday, which is August 31. This year we're going for arts and crafts, and tie-dye seemed appropriate for an old man born in the '60's. As usual, my talented wife has outdone herself with this invitation.

Jake and Joey and Reptilian Friend

Here's some recent photos of Jake and Joey and a reptilian friend.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mattel Toy Recall Update

The Consumer Product Safety Commission website has a list of the newest batch of toys recalled by Mattel. We have this Barbie with the dog and pooper-scooper. They've also recalled some Polly Pocket toys. Sarah has some Polly Pocket toys, but none subject to the recall. The problem with this batch of toys, also manufatured in China, is that they have small magnets that can come loose and be ingested. It's especially bad if the child eats two magnets, because they can become attracted to each other and cause blockage in the digestive system. (After Sarah ate Sherry's contact lenses, I'm not taking any chances with what she puts in her mouth. Poop-Doggie-Dog has got to go.)

Natalie and Teddy George

Karen just sent us some delightful photos of Natalie and Teddy. It looks like Johnny's already getting Natalie ready for football season. (Frankly, I've already started working on "Rocky Top" with Sarah.)

Another Mattel Toy Recall

Mattel is about to announce another recall of toys made in China. As before, the toys have unacceptable amounts of lead in them. The last batch had toys with very popular characters like Elmo and the other Sesame Street guys, Dora and others.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Grandmother's Piano

Here's a photo of La and Grace seated at the baby grand piano that our grandparents owned and our father grew up playing. I had never heard the piano in tune until Laura had it tuned. We've sung Christmas carols accompanied by it played out of tune on numerous occasions, though.

Lunch at Midland

I decided to have lunch today at the Midland Restaurant. We've eaten breakfast there several times since we moved, but we haven't had lunch. I had their club sandwich, which is still very good. I noted that they still serve meatloaf and mashed potatoes on Thursday.

I didn't get home from court until 5:00 this afternoon. I talked to Sherry just before she left work, and it sounds like she survived her first day on her new job. She should be home any moment now.

Empty House

Today is my first day practicing out of an empty house. I took care of my duties pretty quickly this morning, and have been working on administrative matters upstairs since I got back home. I brought home Sarah's daily schedule from her day care, and she's about to have lunch. The kids were on the playground when I dropped her off this morning, and she jumped right out there. Sherry's three hours into her first day at her new job. It's always so hard to be the new person in a workplace.

I miss my girls!

Pretend Camping

Sarah has a new game she likes to play. Grams bought J&J some really cool little battery-operated lanterns, and Sarah likes to turn off the garage lights and pretend a lantern is a campfire. We've developed a whole routine for this garage camping, which includes fishing, cooking and other camping tasks.

Biff and Leah have been out at Mighty Oak both times we've been out there this summer, and Sarah invaded their tent on Sunday morning the last time. She was producing imaginary camping supplies yesterday, and pulled out "Uncle Biff," whom I guess she considers essential for camping. I called and told him the story, and he got a kick out of it.

Family Visit Sunday

La and Stew and Les and Fuzzy picked Mom up at the airport yesterday, and everyone came over for a brief visit yesterday afternoon. Grace was in a particularly good mood. Stewart is something of a philatelist, so he was able to give Sherry some information on her grandmother's stamp collection. We had a nice visit, and then everyone headed for home.

Sherry's First Day at New Job

Sherry reports to her new job with the Real Estate Book company at 9:00 a.m. today. This will also be Sarah's first full week of school at her new day care, and Wednesday will be her first gymnastics class, which she's excited about.

I have errands to take care of this morning after I drop Sarah off, and then I have juvenile court this afternoon, so it should be a busy day for all three of us.

Space Shuttle Damaged

I've been following the news coverage of the current mission of space shuttle Endeavor, which was damaged during liftoff. The astronauts, including the first teacher-astronaut since the Columbia explosion, inspected the damage with cameras yesterday and found a 3 1/2 inch gash in the thermal tiles that protect the ship during re-entry. Scary!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday at Home

Sherry got home yesterday afternoon, and we ran out briefly to visit La and Stew and Gracie and to grab a couple of sandwiches at Subs & Such, one of our favorite local sandwich spots. We went out to Cracker Barrel this morning, and are now enjoying some quiet time.

Wannie is due back from Washington, DC, this afternoon a bit after 3:00. Les called this morning to say that they may come by our place, which is near the airport, before Mom heads back to her place to ready herself for the work week.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ben Ten Again

For those readers who haven't the foggiest notion of whom Ben 10 is, this is the dude. The gizmo on his arm is the Omnitrix.

Lovin' On Some Young-uns

Here's a nice photo of Sherry, Jake and Sarah on the sofa at our place.
Here's Auntie Les and Baby Grace. I think this was taken at the Look Rock camping trip in May.

Making the Rounds Saturday Morning

Sarah and I had breakfast at the Midland Restaurant this morning, where she got to meet my friend Mike Hickman, a Maryville lawyer, for the first time. He told me how beautiful she is, and I told him I was glad she favors her mom. After breakfast, Sarah and I did the grocery shopping (free cookie), the banking (free suckers) and the post office run before finishing up at the library.

Sarah selected another Roald Dahl movie, The Big Friendly Giant, and she's been in her room quietly watching it since we got home, so it must be pretty good. I picked up a new audiobook, Short History of World War I, since I am about to finish Short History of World War II. I wasn't aware the former existed until this morning.

Sherry's bringing home a stamp collection of GG's, so I checked her out a couple of books about philatelic values. She also found her Welcome Back Kotter record player in GG's attic. We're anxiously awaiting Sherry's return home this afternoon.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ben Ten Lyrics

As readers may know, Sarah is a big fan of the cartoon Ben Ten, which we're now watching. Also, tonight is the premire of a new Ben Ten TV movie The Secret of the Omnitrix. I'm hoping maybe it will keep Boong in bed from the time it begins, her bedtime of 7:00 p.m.

For those readers not familiar with the show, the Omnitrix is the wristwatch-like alien device that allows young Ben Tennyson to turn into one of ten different alien creatures, so you have to buy eleven different toy action figures.

I've been curious what the lyrics to the Ben Ten theme song are. Here they are:

It started when an alien device did what it did

And stuck itself upon his wrist with secrets that it hid
Now he's got super powers
He's no ordinary kid
He's Ben 10 (Ben 10 Ben 10)

So if you see him you might be in for a big surprise
He'll turn into an alien before your very eyes
He's tiny, creepy, fast, and strong
He's every shape and size
He's Ben 10 (Ben 10 Ben 10)

With all powers he's on the case
Fighting off evil from Earth or space
He'll never stop 'til he makes them pay
'Cause he's the baddest kid to ever save the day
Ben 10! (Ben Ten Ben 10)

Juvenile Seminar Concludes

I had another very nice day at my continuing legal education seminar. Sike, er, Referee Simpson, was there for the second half of the day, but I wasn't able to convince him to drop by at the conclusion of the class. I left a bit early to pick up Boong, and got there just as she was finishing her nap.

I also got to see some more friends from Blount County Juvenile Court, and Doug Dimond from the Tennessee Attorney General's office was one of the presenters. Doug is a lawyer's lawyer, and he's really a friendly fellow. He was one of two people who was shocked to see me in shorts and a T-shirt. I figure if there's ever a time to dispense with a woolen suit, it is on a 100 degree summer day.

Another Day of Classes

I have the second day of a continuing legal education seminar today. It begins at 8:30, so I'll probably need to blast out of here about 7:30 to get Sarah to school and get back out to the airport for the program. Usually they have a continental breakfast, muffins and such, at these things, so I think I'll wait until I get there and hope they feed me breakfast. I'm going to try and get Sarah to also wait until she gets to school for her breakfast, since we arrived at breakfast time yesterday.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Heel Still Healing

Yesterday was the first day during which I went all day without a bandage on the bottom of my foot from where I tore a hole in it camping. Mysteriously, another lawyer I know now has the same size bandage on top of his head. I wonder if he did a headstand up at Abrams Creek.

End of a Hot Day

It's blazing hot here today, so I'm very glad I came home after court to change from my suit to shorts and a T-shirt. I wore my T-shirt that says, "Lawyers have feelings, too . . .allegedly." It was a big hit with my colleagues at the seminar. I was pleased to see several people I know, both from Nashville and from East Tennessee. The lunch was wonderful. They served beef tips and chicken cordon bleu.

Sherry liked Dr. Battle, though he did not end the appointment as I'd hoped. He remarked on Sherry's lovely smile and thought she must have had braces because her teeth are so perfect. She got to Nashville around lunchtime, and she and Grams just got to GG's place about thirty minutes ago, so they're just starting that process.

Boong had fun at school and was playing at a table with blocks when I got there. She's still happy about going back tomorrow, so I'll call it a good first day.

Sarah's First Day of School

Boong was so excited about her first day at her new school this morning that the first thing she said this morning when she woke up was "Am I going to school?" When we told her she was, she giggled she was so excited. Then she got dressed and her hair brushed without complaint and waited at the door with her things for Sherry and I to get ready to go. Her classmates were having breakfast when she got there, and she had oatmeal with me this morning, so she was a little shy about wanting to sit down at a table. Sherry and I were able to kiss her goodbye and make our exit without any fuss, so I think it went rather well. We'll see how she's done when I pick her up this afternoon.

Sherry had a dentist appointment with Dr. Battle, the dentist I've been seeing since third grade, this morning, and then she headed to Nashville. I just got out of court and am off to the Airport Hilton for my seminar, so I'll check in with her en route. I'm curious to know whether Dr. Battle concluded her exam with his usual, "Now get on out of here before I find something wrong with you."

On the Road Again and Back to School

Sherry's off to Nashville this morning and will be back on Saturday. I've got continuing legal education classes this morning and tomorrow. Sarah is off to her first day of school at the Perpetual Motion School, her new day care.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Space Shuttle Endeavor Launches

Sherry, Sarah and I just watched the launch of the Endeavor, which has a teacher on board for the first time since the Challenger disaster. It was a beautiful launch. They are scheduled for twelve days in orbit, during which time they will continue the construction of the International Space Station.

Busy Day

I had court this morning in Maryville and a luncheon meeting with my friend Brent Nolan in Knoxville, so I've had a busy day. Sherry and Sarah explored the local real estate market with our neighbor Carlene this morning, and then visited with Sherry's friend Vickie this afternoon. It is as hot as blazes here, and I'm glad to be in the air conditioning after walking around Knoxville in a wool suit in the 100 degree heat.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Harvey and Eula Isenhour

Here's a photo of my mom's parent's, Harvey and Eula Isenhour, whom we called Grandmother and Grandpa Isenhour. Although this photo was taken about a year before my birth, this is the way I remember them.

Sarah Eats Contact Lenses

Last night Sarah ate Sherry's contact lenses. I'm glad the child didn't go for my eyeglasses!

Wannie to Washington

Mom's heading out of the Knoxville Airport Thursday morning for a visit to see her sisters in Washington, DC. We're going to congregate at Mom's this evening when she gets off work to have supper before she leaves for her trip.

Back to School

The Blount County Public Schools began classes yesterday, and Jake and Joey will return to classes in Nashville on Monday. I even have classes all day on Thursday and Friday for continuing legal education. Sherry's going to go to Nashville Thursday to help her mom go through her grandmother's house, so Sarah will begin her new daycare Thursday morning.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Back From Court

Both dockets from today were loaded up, so I've had a long day in court. I got to schmooze with a lot of lawyers, though, so the exposure was good. I'll attend to the paperwork later.

Busy Monday

I've got a busy Monday ahead of me, with court this morning and this afternoon. Sherry took Joey and Jake to meet their dad in Cookeville yesterday, and we pretty much took it easy after she got home.

The party at La's for Stew was apparently a big success, and Laura went all out on the meal. Les and Fraz brought some friends with them, and they all headed back over to Fuzzy Manor afterward. It sounds like everyone had a pretty full weekend.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Joanna Lumley

Absolutely Giant Peach

Leah Byrd pointed out to us this weekend that Aunt Spiker of James and the Giant Peach is played by British actress Joanna Lumley, who also played Patsy on Absolutely Fabulous. I knew she looked familiar!


Scooby (left) and Shaggy (right), as seen in What's New Scooby Doo?
Scooby (left) and Shaggy (right)

Boong and I are watching Scooby-Doo on the tube this morning, and using Google I discovered that Shaggy's given name is Norville Rogers. He was originally voiced by Casey Kasem.

Peed Gravel

Bart has a deck down by the lake, and he put out some pea gravel and paving stones at the back of it. Sarah loves to pour and gather small pieces of anything, and she had as much fun playing in the pea gravel as she did playing in the lake, especially after her mishap on the dock.

Sarah still hasn't quite warmed to the idea of peeing in the woods, and unfortunately she peed in her swimsuit while standing in the gravel. Thenceforth, we called it "peed gravel."

Stewart's Birthday

Yesterday was Stewart's birthday, and La had a shindig for him which included standing rib roast. We just didn't have the energy for an evening outing after the trip to the lake, which had been planned quite a bit in advance. It sounded like they were going to have a pretty good crew over there, though.

Happy birthday, Stew!

Report From Mighty Oak

We had a hoot at Mighty Oak Friday. My afternoon hearing got cancelled, so we got to the lake by 1:00 p.m. We'd cut cane poles for the kids at the Fuzzies' place, and the boys quickly started pulling bluegill out of the water. They caught around ten of them, and Jake caught a bass as well.

Sarah enjoyed wading around near the dock. Unfortunately, she doesn't want to wear her life jacket since no one else is. There's a dock that is atop pilings so that it doesn't move. There are two other pieces of dock that are anchored and do move. Sarah made a mistake I've seen happen many times and got herself between the stationary dock and one of the moving ones. As the moving one moved away from the stationary one, she fell in -- without her jacket. Fortunately, the water there was not over her head, and Sherry was right there. Still, it was pretty scary.

Bart pulled up in his mom's really nice deck boat about an hour or so after we got there. I have to say, Bart really put some work into sprucing the place up for the shindig. Sike and Julie and Thomas, Hillary and baby Ellie came out later in the afternoon, and Biff and Leah did as well. J&J and Thomas and Hillary know each other, and they had a good time playing at the dock. Bart's girlfriend, Kim, brought her two kids as well, so all of the older kids enjoyed hanging out with one another. Ellie is now walking, and she got to go on a ride on the big boat. The older kids got to tube behind the boat.

Sherry took Sarah home rather than spend the night, and they had a nice girls' night in. They came out the next morning and brought us biscuits from McDonald's. Biff and Leah got up for breakfast, and we visited with them some more before we headed home. Upon our return to civilization, we cleaned up and took the kids to have Uno Pizza.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday and Mighty Oak

I have court this morning and this afternoon, and then we're packing up the wagon and heading out to Bart Yancey's place on Melton Hill Lake. My doc cleared me for water activities, and I specifically asked him about getting in the lake. He granted his blessing as long as I wear water shoes, which I always do. The boys have been itching to canoe and fish, and we should be able to supply plenty of both.

Biff and Leah Byrd are coming out tonight, and Sike and Julie were considering coming as well. It should be a good evening for it.


We had a powerful thunderstorm come through our neighborhood here in Maryville yesterday afternoon. We even had hail as large as corn kernels, but nothing appears to have been damaged except for some plants I needed to trim back anyway.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Garrison Keillor's Post Regarding the Bridge Collapse

I've been watching the Prairie Home Companion website, knowing that Garrison Keillor is a proud Minnesotan. I figured he'd post something about the bridge collapse.

A note from Garrison Keillor:

After the tragic collapse of the Interstate bridge over the Mississippi, scores of you have e-mailed to ask if we're all accounted for and all right, and so far as we can tell, the answer seems to be yes. We're on a relaxed summer schedule in August and many of the staff are taking days off. Life is fragile, though, and there are plenty of reminders. The daughter of a musician who's been on the show since the early days was just shot in Cape Town, South Africa, by a young man who wanted her knapsack. The bullet passed within a millimeter of her heart and grazed a lung. She is expected to recover. Grandma has flown in to help care for the daughter's infant child. And we think of the rescue workers who are doing the dangerous work of recovery even now — may God watch and preserve them.

Planet Ogle

Astronomers discover distant, icy Earth-like planet

An international team of astrophysicists has discovered a new planet five times the size of Earth, the smallest extrasolar planet revealed to date outside of our solar system.

Artist's Impression of the Newly Discovered Exoplanet
Artist's impression of the newly discovered exoplanet, with five times the mass of Earth, and the red dwarf star it orbits. (Click here to download a high-resolution image.)

Using a network of telescopes scattered across the globe, the group discovered the extrasolar planet is more Earth-like than any other planet found so far. It circles its parent star every 10 years. The discovery opens a new chapter in the search for planets that support life.

“That fact that we stumbled on one means there are thousands of them out there,” said Kem Cook, an astronomer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who is also a member of PLANET (Probing Lensing Anomalies NETwork), a part of the group that made the discovery. “It’s got a solid core. Its mass is low enough that it couldn’t hold itself together if it were just gas,” Cook said.

The new planet and its red dwarf parent star lies in the constellation Sagittarius, not far from the central bulge of our galaxy.

To date, more than 200 planets within the Milky Way have been found. The majority, however, are gas giants – close to the size of Jupiter or Saturn – that orbit their parent star at distances much less than the distance from Earth to the sun. The new planet, made of rock and ice, orbits at three times the distance from Earth to the sun.

The team used a technique called microlensing, an idea that Albert Einstein came up with in 1936. By observing a particular star (A) on the sky, imagine another star (B) in the line of sight toward A. Einstein showed that when A, B and the observer are exactly aligned, a ring-like image will be formed. Star B acts as a gravitational lens by bending the light of star A toward the observer. From there, objects such as planets or white dwarfs around A temporarily brighten star B.

In this case, star A causes a characteristic brightening in star B that lasts about a month. Any planets orbiting star A can produce an additional signal, lasting days for giant planets down to hours for Earth-mass planets. The planet is not directly ‘seen,’ or even the star that it’s orbiting, but its presence can be deduced from the effect of its gravity. In the case of the newly found planet, the extra brightening lasted about 12 hours.

Description of Photo Goes Here
Illustration of light waves from a distant star bent by gravitational lensing. (Click here to view a video explaining microlensing.)

“There’s a deviation of light when a planet is in the way,” Cook said. “In this instance, there was a half-day brightening that was indicative of a planet.”

The new planet – designated OGLE-2005-BLG-290 Lb – orbits a red dwarf five times less massive than the sun. Its cool parent star and large orbit implies that the surface temperature is close to 428 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, much too cold for liquid water. Astronomers predict that its rocky surface is probably deeply buried beneath frozen oceans.

“There must be lots of these out there,” Cook said. “The microlensing technique is not going to find nearby planets. We’re not going to discover planets to which NASA can fly. Microlensing can tell us how common planets are in distant parts of the galaxy and probe details of planetary formation that other techniques cannot.”

The discovery is the joint effort of three independent microlensing campaigns: PLANET/RoboNet, OGLE (Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment), and MOA (Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics), involving a total of 73 collaborators affiliated with 32 institutions in 12 countries – France, the United Kingdom, Poland, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, South Africa and Japan.

In most cases, new planets have been found using a technique called the Doppler shift, in which the wavelength of light emitted by a moving object is shifted due to its motion. Radiation is red-shifted when an object is moving away from us and blue-shifted when the object is moving toward us. Astronomers use Doppler shifts to calculate precisely how fast stars and other astronomical objects move toward or away from Earth. As a giant planet orbits a star, it tugs it back and forth, producing a very small (meters per second) Doppler shift. Most planets found using the Doppler shift method, however, have been giant gas planets.

Microlensing is more sensitive to planets that orbit their star at distances that are in the range of the Earth-sun separation. OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb is only the third extra-solar planet discovered so far from microlensing searches.

The new planet and its red dwarf parent star lie in the constellation Sagittarius, not far from the central bulge of our galaxy.

The research appears in the Jan. 26 edition of the journal Nature.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

The collapse of the interstate bridge in Minneapolis during rush hour yesterday was horrifying. I saw film this morning of the bridge actually falling, and it seems amazing more people weren't hurt than there are. From what I have heard on the news, the bridge was over forty years old.

Our country is full of old infrastructure like that bridge. It's bad enough to have terrorists out to blow up our stuff without having old stuff just falling in on its own. I suspect the engineers will tell us that if the bad guys had wanted to knock that bridge down, it wouldn't have taken much to do the job.

Consumer Product Safety Commission Toy Alert

Fisher-Price Recalls Licensed Character Toys Due To Lead Poisoning Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firms named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and other children�s toys

Units: About 967,000

Importer: Fisher-Price Inc., of East Aurora, N.Y.

Hazard: Surface paints on the toys could contain excessive levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: The recalled involves various figures and toys that were manufactured between April 19, 2007 and July 6, 2007 and were sold alone or as part of sets. The model names and product numbers for the recalled toys, which are all marked with �Fisher-Price,� are listed below. The toys may have a date code between 109-7LF and 187-7LF marked on the product or packaging.

Sold at: Retail stores nationwide from May 2007 through August 2007 for between $5 and $40.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from children and contact Fisher-Price. Consumers will need to return the product and will receive a voucher for a replacement toy of the consumer�s choice (up to the value of the returned product).

Consumer Contact: For additional information contact Fisher-Price at (800) 916-4498 anytime or visit the firm�s Web site at

Product List:

33662 Elmo Light Up Musical Pal
33664 Big Bird Light Up Musical Pal
39038 Elmo Tub Sub
87946 Elmo Keyboard
90609 Elmo Collectible
90612 Zoe Collectible
90614 Big Bird Collectible
93068 Elmo Boom Box
93307 Press N Go Elmo
93492 Cookie Saxophone
93615 Splash Tub Puzzle

B7554 Count To Beat Elmo
B7987 Elmo In The Giggle Box
B9620 Dora's Talking House
C6908 Dora, Backpack, Perrito Figure Pack
C6909 Diego Figure Pack
C6911 Boots, Tico Figure Pack
G5112 Sing With Elmo's Greatest Hits
H2943 Grow With Me Elmo Sprinkler
H3344 Birthday Dora
H5570 Elmo & Pals (Elmo, Zoe, Bigbird)
H4628 Water Fun Tote
H8237 Blue 3 Pack Figures In Tube
H9124 Chef Dora
H9186 Giggle Grabber Ernie

J0338 Diego Talking Field Journal
J0344 Go Diego Go Deep Sea Rescue
J0346 Go Diego Go Talking Rescue 4 X 4
J5936 Giggle Grabber Chef Cookie Monster
J6537 Sesame Street Giggle Toolbelt
J6763 Royal Boots And Tico
J7983 Sesame Street Tub Pots & Pans
J9692 Dora's Talking Pony Place
K3414 Diego - Talking Gadget Belt
K3580 Fairytale Adventure Dora
K4140 Toucan Motorcycle Rescue

L3194 Surprise Inside Diego Eggs
L3488 Sesame Street Birthday Figure Pack
L3507 Sesame Street - Super Boom Box
L5202 Birthday Dora
L8905 Pablo & Pals
M0352 Dora Figures Diego & Bear
M0527 Sesame Street Giggle Doodler
M2051 Lets Go Rescue Center
33663 Ernie Light Up Musical Pal
34658 Elmo Stacking Rings
39054 Sesame Street Shape Sorter
90267 Ernie Splashin' Fun Trike
90611 Cookie Collectible
90613 Ernie Collectible
90745 Construction Playset
93107 Action Fire Engine
93308 Rev & Go Cookie Monster
93493 Elmo's Guitar
93780 Music And Lights Phone

B7888 Shake, Giggle & Roll
B7989 Silly Parts Talking Elmo

C6910 Swiper Figure Pack
G3825 Dora Talking Vamonos Van
G9717 Giggle Doodler
H3343 Cousin Daisy
H5569 Elmo & Pals (Elmo, Cookie, Ernie)
H4187 Dora Figures In Tube
H8236 Dora 3 Pack Figures In Tube
H8238 Sponge Bob 3 Pack Figures In Tube
H9125 Bedtime Dora
H9188 Giggle Grabber Oscar The Grouch

J0343 Go Diego Go Antarctic Rescue
J0345 Go Diego Go Mountain Rescue
J5935 Giggle Grabber Soccer Elmo

J6762 Queen Mami
J6765 Prince Diego
J9518 Sesame Street Giggle Drill
K0617 Twins Nursery
K3571 Go Diego Go Mobile Rescue Unit
K4139 Go Diego Go Dinosaur Rescue
L0305 Dora Figure

L3215 Sesame Street Elmo Jack-In-The-Box

L5813 Diego Tub Trike
M0351 Dora Figures Dora & Kitty
M0524 Go Diego Go Talking Gadget
M0732 Dora's Talking House
M2052 Fairytale Castle

Homeland Cafe in Oak Ridge

I'm still exploring what's new in Oak Ridge online, and discovered a restaurant I'd like to try. It's called the Homeland Cafe. Here's a review of it:

Family-operated full-service restaurant specializing in Polish and Eastern European fine cuisine. Said to be the only authentic Polish restaurant in Tennessee.

Dinner menu features duck breast in Grand Marnier sauce, pork tenderloin in brie sauce, and New Zealand lamb. Lunch menu features pierogis, stuffed cabbage, and similar Polish specialities.

The location in a remodeled "E" house provides a cozy atmosphere, including intimate spaces.

Hours may vary, so phone ahead.

The owners formerly operated a cafe in the Oak Ridge Mall serving home-cooked specialties from Poland.


The apartment building across the street is receiving a new roof. Construction is always so interesting to watch. Yesterday, one of the men was standing on top of the roof hollaring at someone on his cell phone.

I just walked my doctor-authorized mile, and I noticed a man surveying the job. I assume he was the property owner or manager from his khakis and golf shirt. He was definitely not dressed for roofing. Unfortunately, one of the crew pulled in just about then, and I heard a man, the foreman I presume, tell him the job starts at 6:30. It was 7:10. The moral of the story is don't show up late to work when the boss has someone to impress.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Meatloaf and Twice-Baked Potatoes

Need I say more?

Sherry's gone with our neighbor to take the kids to the mall, where they have a bunch of bunji cords hooked up for jumping. I've got meatloaf and taters waiting when they get home.

Frog Giggin'

Jake and Joey's dad took them frog gigging recently, and these are some of his photos from the outing. Here's Joey displaying his trophy catch.

You gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find your princess.

Jake with disembodied frog legs