Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gone Fishin'

Jake caught this fanged ocean trout from Captain Randy's dock on Santa Rosa Sound in Mary Esther, Florida, which is just west of Destin on the way out Highway 98 toward Pensacola. Eglin Air Force Base is nearby, and when the military jets fly over, it is our custom to proclaim, "We have air support!"


Here is a wonderful photograph of Jake fishing on Choctawhatchee Bay. The lad is a dedicated angler. There is nothing quite like the smile on the face of someone who just caught a good fish! For evidence of this, take a look at the photo above.

RIP Carl Gebuhr 1917-2008

My cousin Jim from Murfreesboro just sent some sad news:
It is with great sadness that I report to you the death of Fran's husband,
Carl Gebuhr, who died last night (July 30, 2008) at about 11:20 p.m. He
died peacefully at their home. . . .

Fran, like Jim, is my father's first cousin. Her husband Carl was a wonderful man, and we will miss him.

The Phoenix Lander

NASA's Phoenix Lander is transmitting images from the surface of Mars to Earth, and it is testing soil samples for the presence of frozen H2O. NASA has a press conference scheduled for 2:00 p.m. today, and scientists are speculating that water, in the form of ice, has been found on Mars. If so, it will be the first time humans have found water away from our home world, which is truly a milestone in space exploration if it is true.

UPDATE: NASA confirmed at the press conference that Phoenix indeed discovered water on Mars.

More Beach Pics

Pirates at the mall!

Sandy Sarah


Cool in the pool

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tautology

When I picked up Sarah from preschool this afternoon, she said, "There's Logan's dad. He's a boy."

I said, "That's a tautology."

She inquired, "A tautology?"

"Yes," I said, "It's sort of like saying the same thing twice, or stating the obvious. All dads are boys."

"Okay," she replied happily, and filed it away for future reference.

I realize a four-year-old doesn't need "tautology" in her vocabulary. I'm not sure I really need it in mine, but that's not the point. That absorbent little mind of hers will pull it in, and it will be somewhere in there should she need it someday, I hope.

I Represent Farmers

During my five years as a big city Nashville lawyer I did not represent any farmers. I had cases with musicians in them, but no farmers. Here in Maryville, I frequently represented farmers, and the farmers I have dealt with have approached their legal matters with common sense, intelligence and decency.

A couple I know own and run a small farm here in Blount County, and they called me this week to consult with me about some legal business. Before I moved to Nashville, I was their family lawyer. Now I am again, and that makes me very happy. Since my friends grow pumpkins, among other things, I include this photograph of a pumpkin patch in their honor. We will no doubt ride out to their place and purchase our pumpkins this year for Halloween.

I'm glad to be back in the business of lawyering for farmers!

Job Interview for Sherry!

When I got back from an afternoon home visit today, Sherry was at home and on the phone with a prospective local employer. We're both excited that she has an interview tomorrow morning. She also learned she will have two weeks severance pay, which is good news since we didn't know whether she would get any severance benefits.

Busy Week After Vacation

As one might expect, this has been a busy week after our week down in Florida last week. I plowed through paperwork after court Monday morning, and spent most of yesterday in court as well. I have a juvenile court seminar in Knoxville on Friday, and then I fly to Savannah, Georgia, for a child welfare law conference Saturday morning and do not return until Wednesday night. My hope is to get my paperwork and other office duties caught up today and tomorrow.

Today is Sherry's last day at the Real Estate Book, which has been hit by the poor housing market. She saw it coming, and she's been working hard to find another job. Hopefully something will come through before too long, especially since our health insurance was through her work. I suspect we'll have to go back to private insurance, which was about $500.00 a month a year ago.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Grahams In Chicago

Here are a few photos from Laura and Grace's trip to visit Stewart, who is working in Chicago. What a beautiful city! I've never been, but would like to visit someday.






Monday, July 28, 2008

Baytown Village Pics




These are photos from Baytown Village, on the north side of Sandestin.

Church Shooting in Knoxville

There was a horrible shooting during a children's church program at the Unitarian church on Kingston Pike in Knoxville yesterday. We attended that church from time to time as children, and I also attended the Second Presbyterian Church next door, to which churchgoers fled yesterday after the shooting. It was the top story on the NBC Nightly News last night. Here's this morning's News Sentinel article.

The children were performing Annie when the gunman opened fire on the congregation.

Thomas Alexander Cornell

Terry and Rachel Cornell's baby was born July 22, 2008, at 9:33 p.m. His name is Thomas Alexander Cornell, and he was six pounds, eight ounces and 19 inches long at birth. He was born three weeks early, but everyone came home from the hospital on July 24. Congratulations to the happy parents!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Seagrove and Seaside

We usually stay in Beachwood Villas in Seagrove Beach when we visit Florida. There is a small strip mall next door, and it houses Bruno's Pizza, a small, but wonderful, little pizzeria that we enjoy every time we visit the area. We took a trip to Bruno's for lunch in conjunction with a trip to Seaside to browse the shops. As usual, Bruno's rocked. Afterward, Sherry and the kids strolled Seaside while I watched surfers from the upstairs deck at Bud and Alley's.

Beach Pics

Sherry and Sarah

Jake and Joey Ferrelli, Engineers

Sarah in her shades

Pool Pics


Margaritaville Panama City


We went with Randy on Thursday to the new Margaritaville restaurant and store in Panama City, pictured above. It was about an hour and a half from Randy's place in Mary Esther, Florida, but it was well worth the trip. It is, of course, decorated in a tropical theme, and they play videos and music in the restaurant, including two screens that are the sails of a sailboat.
Suspended above the dining room is the Hemisphere Dancer seaplane. During the song "Jamaica Mistaka" the plane is shot by cannon. Smoke then flows from one of the engines, and the plane drops it's cargo, a disco ball, from which descends the legendary lost shaker of salt. It was quite a show, and the food was good, too.

Criolla's Restaurant and Cafe Thirty-A

Sherry and I went to Criolla's restaurant the first time we ever went to Florida together. We usually stay in Seagrove Beach, which is east of Destin on the way to Panama City, and Criolla's is out in that neck of the woods. Another great restaurant in that area is Cafe Thirty-A, where we had a very nice meal last year.

The Donut Hole

One of our favorite breakfast eateries in the Destin area is the Donut Hole. There is one restaurant on Highway 98 near where we usually stay in Seagrove Beach, and then there's another in Destin. They don't let you leave hungry.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sandestin

We spent much of this vacation in the water. Sarah's swimming has improved with several weeks of lessons and free play at the pool at her preschool, and she enjoyed the empowerment she experienced. Sherry took this great photo of the kids jumping into the pool at the Luau Towers in Sandestin. Yes, that is a waterfall pouring into the pool in the background.


Here is a view of the pool from atop the waterfall. Sarah and I argued about whether the island was Zombie Island or Mermaid Island. I think she won.


This is the view from our lodgings on the twelfth floor of the Luau Tower I looking out over the Gulf of Mexico.

Going Cheapo in DeFuniak Springs


When we got to DeFuniak Springs last Friday, we were tired and hungry. We'd hoped to stay at the Hotel DeFuniak, which I saw online, but there was no room at that inn. We drove toward Interstate 10, and found the Sundowner Hotel right next door to La Rumba Mexican restaurant. The restaurant fed us a good meal, and the hotel was clean and had good air conditioning for $65.00 a night. We would later be staying in far nicer accommodations.

Back in Maryville

We dropped Jake and Joey off in Nashville this afternoon after driving up from Florida. We had originally planned to spend the night, but decided to drive on home to Maryville and just arrived home. We had a fun week, and we are appropriately exhausted. It is good to be home.

Big Round Ball


I live on a big round ball.
I never do dream I may fall.
And even one day if I do,
Well, I'll jump up and smile back at you.

Go Fly a Kite!


I always enjoy flying kites when we go to the beach because it is almost always windy. I usually buy the cheap $2.00 kites they sell in convenience stores down here in Destin, since I tend to lose them, but I would love to try out a fancy kite like this one sometime.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hale Bopp Comet

This is a photograph of the Hale Bopp comet taken on April 8, 1997, from somewhere in North Carolina.

House Cat

Although I programmed this post before I left home, I know that by now we'll be missing our kitties. When Molly lies around the house, she really lies around the house.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sunset


Here's the sunset at Destin Harbor looking out to the pass.

BOAT: Bring Out Another Thousand

Randy just got his motor out of the shop, but this morning it wouldn't crank at all. If the wind picks up we might still be able to get it out, but sailing is looking increasingly unlikely today. Plan B is a trip to the Margaritaville Cafe in Panama City.

Pop Tarks

Sarah is at the age where she has acquired quite an impressive vocabulary, but she needs to work on getting the sounds of the words right. For example, she still pronounces her name "Sawah." She also uses the "k" sound sometimes for "t" and "th." This renders "Pop Tarks" and "kings" for "things." I worked with her last week on the "th" sound after she asked me to put the "Pink Panda" DVD in. I got her to say "Pink Panfer" and tried to work with her on the difference between the "f" sound and the "th" sound. I could tell she was interested, at least at first, but she didn't quite get it, so we'll have to keep working on it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Green Jeep Cherokee

My friend Biff Byrd (Yes, that is his real name.), drives one of these, only Biff's is white with faux wood side panels. I would love to have an old truck like that, but I am not mechanically inclined, which I think such a truck requires. I'm glad I have friends with old vehicles like this, so we can ride around in them from time to time.

Possum on the Half Shell

When I went walking Monday morning, I saw one of these critters scamper off into the bushes. It was the closest I've ever been to a live armadillo.

Sting Ray at Captain Randy's

We're going sailing in the morning, and so we're spending the night at Randy and Dawn's place. As soon as we got here, we spotted a sting ray near their dock. We just had steak, with ice cream for dessert. Life is good at the beach.

Buffett Surfs

Here is a cool article about Jimmy Buffett surfing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Report from Sandestin

We are thrilled with our lodgings in Luau Tower I in the Sandestin resort, and the weather has been beautiful down here, though it is very hot. Tropical Storm Dolly is heading for Brownsville, Texas, which means it is taking most of the nasty weather in the gulf over there. We may see some afternoon showers from it, but nothing extreme.

The beach at our place is terribly crowded, and also pretty littered compared to where we usually stay down in quiet Seagrove Beach. All the wonderful amenities, including the business center I'm using now, make up for it. We even have a putt putt course across the street that we can play for free, and Jake and Joey took advantage of that yesterday evening.

We are all impressed at Sarah's swimming prowess, and Sherry and I feel like we got our money's worth out of Sarah's swimming lessons this summer. The child has no fear of the water, and is swimming like a fish. For a four year old, she's quite a swimmer. I took her out into the ocean Sunday, and we played in the waves. She loved it!

Plankton and Krabby Patties


So far our vacation has been devoid of plankton, though we do not turn our noses up at Krabby Patties.

Mercury and the Moon


Monday, July 21, 2008

Beach House on the Moon

Well, this isn't the moon. It is a photo of the surface of Mars take by an American robot, much like the robot I left at my house to man Boongablogger while we're away on vacation, only the robot at the house has deadly laser beams to zap intruders. I sure hope it doesn't zap the cats.

Got Crabs?

There are a lot of hermit crabs in the still areas of Destin Bay, though you don't see them in the surf. There's a little marina store where Randy puts gasoline in his boat that has them all over the place. Several years ago, Jake and Joey brought a couple of them home from the beach, and they kept them for a long time. I have been wanting to make Sarah a terrarium for some time, but I envisioned plants and animals from the woods and mountains of Tennessee. Maybe we could start with something more tropical.

Motorcycle Granny

The Maryville Daily Times ran a story recently about a woman who took her first motorcycle ride on her ninitieth birthday. Hurray for her!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Laura and Grace Swimming

La and Grace had a lot of fun at the pool in Roanoke, and so did we!

Look! Dolphins!


Inasmuch as I live in the mountains, when I want to divert someone's attention somewhere I'll jokingly point into the woods and say, "Look! Dolphins!" Nobody I know has ever looked up the hollar in the direction I'm pointing and seen one, though.

New Little Feat Album

Little Feat has a new album, Join the Band, and it features Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews, Vince Gill, Bob Segar, Brooks & Dunn, Emmylou Harris and Chris Robinson (from the Black Crowes).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hurricane Bertha

The International Space Station photographed Hurricane Bertha over the Atlantic Ocean on July 9, 2008.

$300 Blender

You have to love Jimmy Buffett's marketing prowess. The blender pictured above, dubbed the Frozen Concoction Maker after his trademark song, "Margaritaville" costs a mere $299.00 at the Margaritaville Store. This offer is only for very committed (and commitable) parrotheads.

Sailing

We usually go sailing at least once with Randy and Dawn when we're on vacation, so we find it hard to pay to go sailing. AJ's has a couple of sailboats that offer excursions for snorkeling and for spotting dolphin. The rates are $25 for adults, $20 for kids and four and under are free. Since we all like pirates, it might be fun to sail on the Blackbeard II, pictured here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Canadian Mural

Check out this mural from Cochrane, near Calgary, Canada, which is my brother-in-law Stewart's stomping grounds. He hails from Edmonton. Thanks to Jane Austin Barron for the link.

Vol Offensive Linemen Bench Press 600+ Pounds

There's an article in the Nashville City Paper this morning that one of the University of Tennessee offensive linemen can bench press 645 pounds, and there's another who can bench press 600 pounds. These are guys fresh out of high school. You can say what you want about Phil Fulmer, but as a former lineman himself, he knows the importance of having good, strong players on the line. It has to make the quarterbacks and running backs happy.

I may be on my way to the beach, but I know football season is coming soon.

Joey and Jake Destin Celebrities

Jake and Joey were photographed yesterday while swinging on a rope swing by a photographer for a local Destin newspaper. I can't find the photo online today, but Mark is going to pick up a copy of the newspaper for Sherry.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the online news article. It is a zip line, not a rope swing, they were on. We think photo #2 is Jake, but it's hard to tell because he's so far away. It looks like fun, though!

Hotel Defuniak

We haven't heard back from Randy as to whether we can freeload at his and Dawn's place tonight. We're going to head on down after court this morning anyway. If we don't hear from them on the way down to Florida, we may stay in this historic hotel, the Hotel Defuniak, in Defuniak Springs, Florida. It was built in 1920, and has a house jazz band. Defuniak Springs is between thirty minutes and an hour from Destin, so if we stay there, we can get up Saturday morning, head toward Destin, have breakfast at the Donut Hole and meet up with Mark and Tara and the boys when ever they get up and at 'em that morning.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sarah Giggling Madly in the Closet

My child is insane. She's taken the kitten into the upstairs closet, and God knows what she is doing to the poor animal in there. She's laughing maniacally.

Only One Case Between Me and the Beach

I've concluded today's lawyerly pursuits, which included settling a case this afternoon. I only have what I hope will be a very brief appearance tomorrow to announce a plea agreement in a criminal case, and then we can launch ourselves southward.

Destin Pass


Mark and Tara took Joey and Jake deep sea fishing down in Destin a couple of days ago. I haven't heard about their catch, but usually the guides can put you over a good school of fish. I suspect we'll find fish in the freezer at the condo when we get there. I just have to get through afternoon court today, and a hearing tomorrow afternoon, and then we'll be clear to hit the road south to the beach.
Sherry had to work late last night and didn't get home until around 9:00 p.m. She's off on Friday, so she is officially on vacation when her work day is done today. We're ready!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kenny Rogers to Play Foothills Fall Festival

Kenny Rogers has been selected to close the show at the Foothills Fall Festival this year in the wake of Willie Nelson's cancellation.

Dear Senior Citizen

I just went out to check my mail, and there was nothing in the mailbox. However, there was a flier from a local church addressed "Dear Senior Citizen."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

California Wildfires and the Heavens Above

I've found a Picture-of-the-Day site from NASA, and it has some spectacular photos. The city lights you see are from Santa Barbara, California, and the red lights on the mountain on the right are flames from wildfires. Click on this link to see a better quality version of this photograph and an explanation of the wonders in the sky over California that night.

Bad Dream

When I woke Sarah up this morning, she awoke in tears because she was having a bad dream, poor child. Curious, I started to ask her about it, but then I thought it would be better to just dispel it by telling her that the dream was over since she was awake. She got over it quickly enough, but I sure felt for her when I saw tears well up in her eyes as soon as she woke up.

Happy Birthday Aunt Joan!


Full Platter

I have a full platter for my business day today. I have four criminal cases in general sessions court this morning, and I have two in juvenile court this afternoon, though I do not expect either of the afternoon cases to take long to deal with. I have court appearances every day for the rest of the week, with the last one on Friday morning for announcement of a plea agreement in criminal court. Once that is concluded, Sherry, Sarah and I are heading to the Gulf of Mexico to meet up with Mark and the boys.

Nashville Boot Camp Program for Juveniles

There's an article in yesterday's Nashville City Paper about a new program in Nashville for children charged with delinquent offenses, and apparently it is doing a good job so far. I read about it a few days ago, probably in the Tennessean online, and they had positive things to say about the Positive Beginnings program as well. It has boot camp training and focuses on preventing children from becoming "frequent fliers" in juvenile court.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Family Reunion Coverage by Laura

video

We love our family!

More Reunion Photos

Aunt Joan and Mom view digital photos.

Laura and Aunt Penny pose for the camera.


Aunt Joan, Cousin Barbara and Mom visit in the lobby of our hotel. Barbara is first cousin to Aunt Joan and Mom and is my first cousin once removed. I worked for her and her husband, Walter, in their fabric sample business in Hickory, North Carolina.