Thursday, April 30, 2009

More Zoo Photos

Here are a few more of the photographs Sherry took at the Nashville Zoo last weekend.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

F-35 Lightning II Stealth Aircraft at Eglin

Because Eglin Air Force Base is just west of Destin, it is not unusual for us to see military aircraft patrolling the shoreline when we are down there. The air force base recently rolled out the new F-35 Lightning II Stealth aircraft for the community's inspection. Perhaps we'll see one while we're there this summer.
I suppose it is pretty obvious that I'm looking forward to the beach.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Developer Opines on Destin Area's Future

I read an interesting article in the Destin Log this morning. It is an interview of the developer of the Sandestin resort, where we stayed last year, and he believes that Destin will continue to prosper in the wake of our recent poor economic news. We usually stay in Seagrove Beach, Florida, which is on Highway 30-A, and the developer foresees tough times for the communities that exist in that area.

His theory is that as people get older, they want less beach and more shopping. I'll admit that we usually make at least one trip to Silver Sands outlet mall when we visit the area, but the main reason I like Seagrove is because the beach and pools are less crowded and are cleaner because they are not generally overrun with tourists. It makes for a more quiet and relaxing vacation.

Pics from the Zoo

Sherry took a bunch of photographs at the Nashville Zoo last weekend, a few of which I share here. As was the case last year, Sarah's favorite animals at the zoo were caterpillars.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Kids and Abraham Lincoln

Swine Flu

Here's some information from the Centers for Disease Control on the twenty swine flu cases in the U.S., in California, Texas, Kansas, New York and Ohio. There is more information about the outbreak in Mexico from the World Health Organization here.

First Mosquito Bite

We spent some time on the back deck in the sunshine yesterday after Sherry and Sarah got home. Les also came by for a visit, and I filled up Sarah's little plastic pool for her to play in. I also got my first (of many) mosquito bites for the season. Poison ivy doesn't usually bother me, but every mosquito in a half mile radius comes straight for me when I'm outside. Spring is here.

Fancy Sarah

Last week Sarah's school had Spirit Week, and the children and teachers dressed for different themes each day. Friday was Fancy Nancy day, and this is a photograph of Sarah's fancy outfit for the day.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Free Bird

I just got in from grocery shopping. As I was loading groceries into the house through our open garage door, a bird flew up and into the house, only to encounter Molly the cat, feeling feisty after a weekend's recovery from her cat fight wounds.

I heard some commotion and came upstairs to see what was going on, and Molly had a sparrow trapped behind our sofa. I grabbed a towel from the bathroom, moved the sofa away from the wall, and trapped the little bird by throwing the towel on it. I gently picked it up, set it on the front porch and lifted the towel off of the bird, which went soaring down Forest Avenue, happy to have escaped the clutches of Molly the killer calico.

Nashville and Asheville

I met an old college friend in Asheville, North Carolina, for a little trout fishing this weekend. Well, he went trout fishing while I explored the woods nearby the stream. He caught a trout in Bent Creek just a few hundred feet from where it flows into the French Broad River, and we found the skeleton of a small deer in the forest near the bank of the stream. We also explored downtown Asheville, which has a lot of interesting stores and restaurants.

Sherry and Sarah spent the weekend in Nashville with Jake and Joey and Grams. They made it into town early enough Friday to see the boys win a soccer game for their school, Bellevue Middle School, and Sherry took the kids to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere yesterday. It is a very nice park.

Beatrice Arthur Dies

Actress Beatrice Arthur died yesterday at age 86. I first saw her as Maude, a character in All in the Family who later starred in her own sitcom, Maude. Sherry watches Golden Girls nearly every day, so Ms. Arthur will live on in television immortality.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Casserole Controversy

It appears that there is a minor controversy involving Good Morning America host Charlie Gibson and Emiril Lagasse and the creation of a chicken enchilada casserole. The recipe, a relatively easy affair, is here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Down By the Riverside

This is my niece Grace on the bank of the Little River where it flows into the Tennessee River. She ain't gonna study war no more.

Update on Molly the Cat

Molly, our cat that got into a cat fight about a week ago, is starting to feel better after her visit to the vet yesterday. They gave her an intravenous antibiotic and cleaned her wounds, which look pretty bad now that they shaved her fur so you can see them. Poor Frankenkitty!

I have deliberately spared the gentle reader any photograph.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Movie Review: Lord of the Rings Extended Version

I've seen several clips from the extended version of Lord of the Rings on You Tube, including this one with the Mouth of Sauron, a minor character I cannot believe did not make the movie when it was released. As I expected, the extended version developed parts of the plot to a greater degree than in the original release. I especially liked the extra scenes in Fangorn Forest. I would have liked it if they had included this alternate ending, which I've also thought would have been a better way of destroying the ring, at least if the eagles could have been convinced to go to Mount Doom before its eruption rather than afterward.

Injured Cat

Molly, the younger of our two cats, was in her first cat fight a few days ago. I discovered an injury on her back the day before yesterday, and by last night it was pretty swollen, probably due to infection. Molly seemed to feel like her regular self last night, but when I came home for lunch it was obvious she is in pain, so I took her to the vet down the street.

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Administrative Professionals Day!

Today is Administrative Professionals Day, when we celebrate the hard work of office support staff. I have had the benefit of secretarial support for about half of my legal career, and like most lawyers, I am much more organized when I have someone helping to keep me on track. I salute America's administrative professionals!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sparkles the Caterpillar

Sherry took Sarah on a walk this evening, and they returned with a caterpillar, which Sarah has now enslaved in her terrarium. She has named the caterpillar "Sparkles," and has in some way ascertained that the creature is female. I deduce this from the child referring to the caterpillar as "she."

Sarah's Snapshots

This weekend, Sarah took her mother's camera outside and took some photographs of pretty spring flowers. Above is a dogwood tree in our neighbor's yard, and below is a violet next to some peach pits from our ornamental peach tree.

Sarah doesn't recognize the dandelion as a weed. To her, it is another pretty flower to take a picture of.
Our neighbor's petunias, with an azalea behind them.
This was the first iris to bloom in our neighbor's very full iris bed this spring.
This azalea dwells at our front door.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Smoky Mountains

Sarah's Kite

Here is Sarah posing at the Kite Festival with her finished rainbow butterfly kite. As you can see, it was a nice, sunny day yesterday. Today, we have rain.

Pizza Success!

When I went to Sarah's school to have lunch with her last Wednesday, I asked Ms. Greta, who makes their delicious pizza, if she had any advice for me, inasmuch as my success with pizza baking has been hit and miss. She suggested using Pillsbury's canned pizza dough, and I tried it yesterday. The crust turned out well, and I throttled back on the ingredients a bit, at least on Sarah's half of the pizza. The result was a pretty good pie, most of which disappeared yesterday.
Sherry also made a low-carb pizza with the ingredients using her wraps, and it looked pretty good, too.

I'm not giving up on making my own pizza dough, but it's nice to know I can turn out a decent pizza with the canned dough.

More on Revere's Ride

Here's more on Paul Revere's Ride:

On the night of Tuesday, April 18, Revere and William Dawes rode out, Dawes by way of Boston Neck and Revere by way of Charlestown, to alert the countryside that the British troops would move the next morning. Revere arrived in Lexington about half an hour before Dawes, and Hancock and Adams fled to Woburn. Revere, Dawes, and Dr. Samuel Prescott started for Concord, but Dawes and Revere were stopped by a British patrol; Prescott got through. Revere was released by the British and returned to Lexington to help in saving John Hancock's trunk and papers.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Shot Heard 'Round the World

Today is the anniversary of the famous battles at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, that began the American Revolutionary War in 1775. Captain John Parker of the Lexington militia said to his minutemen, "Stand your ground. If they mean to have a war, let it begin here!"

Kite Festival

Yesterday, we went to the Kite Festival at Pearson Springs Park, which was hosted by Fine Arts Blount. It was breezy, but not enough to properly fly a kite, though a few people had kites off the ground here and there. Sarah made a butterfly kite, which we hung in her room, and Sherry took a picture of this giant, fuzzy caterpillar climbing up a tree.

The Daily Times reported during the winter that there was a beaver dam on Pistol Creek at the park, and a man was kind enough to point it out to me. The dam just looked like a pile of brush in the small creek, but if you looked at the ends of the wood, you could tell they'd been gnawed by beaver.

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

Today, the Eighteenth of April, is the anniversary of Paul Revere's ride, preceding the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775. The fate of a nation was riding that night.

Photos from Fort Craig

Here are a few photographs from Sarah's visit to Fort Craig School this week. She will begin kindergarten there in July.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday, Sweet Friday!

It is sunny and about 70 degrees in Maryville as I am enjoying my lunch hour here at the homestead. There are a couple of fun events in town this weekend, and hopefully we'll be able to visit one or both of them.

The Thompson Brown House, which is next to the Blount County Justice Center on Highway 321, is hosting a Heritage Festival, which includes people dressed in Civil War era costumes. We went to a similar event last year at Fort Loudon, but people were dressed in attire from the 1600's, which was when Fort Sanders was garrisoned.

There is also a Kite Festival of some sort going on at Pearson Springs park, and we will probably check it out as well. Several months ago the Daily Times reported that there was a beaver dam on Pistol Creek at Pearson Springs Park. I wonder if it is still there.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring in Belleville, Illinois

This lovely tree grows in the yard of my friends, Dave and Connie, in Belleville, Illinois, which is near Saint Louis, Missouri.

Visit to Fort Craig School

Sarah has an appointment at 9:30 this morning for an evaluation of her level of learning prior to entering kindergarten, which starts in July. I'm going to go into work for an hour, and then meet Sherry and Sarah at the school.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Growing Child

I had pizza with Sarah at her school for lunch today, and I noticed that the teachers have been keeping up with the children's growth over the past few months on a chart. In September Sarah weighed 43 pounds and was 45 inches tall. In January she weighed 46 pounds and was 45.5 inches tall. This month she weighs the same as in January, but is now 46 inches tall.

For a sad, but good, song about your child growing up from Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish, click here.

Tax Day

Having worked for a tax attorney for eight and a half years, I know how busy this time of year is for tax lawyers and accountants. I used to prepare my own returns, but began hiring an accountant to do them when I moved to Nashville. We filed our return and paid Uncle Sam several weeks ago, and I'm happy to have that obligation fulfilled for this year.

Fall of Fort Kid

Fort Kid is a wooden playground between the University of Tennessee campus and the World's Fair Park in Knoxville. It opened in 1991 as I was completing law school. The News Sentinel reports that Fort Kid will be "phased out" because of wear and maintenance costs. A new playground will be built at World's Fair Park.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Heartland Series to Stop Production

Our local NBC affiliate, WBIR, airs a short show called The Heartland Series twice a day during the morning and noon news segments. The Heartland Series, which has been on the air for twenty-five years, tells stories about East Tennessee, and our land and people. I make a point to catch every episode.

WBIR has announced it will suspend production of new Heartland episodes in September due to economic concerns. The president and general manager of the station says, "Everyone loves the Heartland Series[,] but in these challenging times, it is a luxury for three people to produce three and a half minutes of TV a week."

What a shame and a loss.

Thinking About the Beach

I'm winding down my lunch hour here at the house, and I'm thinking about the beach. Sherry and I looked at rentals in Seagrove Beach, Florida, near Destin, last night online, and we're looking forward to making a reservation for our summer vacation. We're going to try to go the week before Joey and Jake go down there with their dad, so that the boys will have two whole weeks at the beach again this year. It will be nice to put the dates on the calendar.

Monday, April 13, 2009

GG's Birthday

Today is the birthday of Dorothy Thomas, Sherry's grandmother, who died a couple of years ago. She was known as "GG" for "Great-Grandmother" to Jake and Joey and later Sarah.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Eggers

Ain't we cute?

Easter Sunday Fishing on Louisville Lake

Frazier and I took Jake and Sarah fishing this morning on Louisville Lake, where I used to live. (Sherry and Joey slept in.)We fished from the bank underneath Louisville Road at the marina, and Jake caught four shad. The rest of us came up empty handed, but we had a nice morning lakeside. It was nice to be back in my old neighborhood, though it made me just the slightest bit wistful.

As usual at the lake, we saw plenty of waterfowl, but the highlight of the trip for me (since I didn't catch any fish) was a beaver that swam by us a couple of times. I suspect he lives up Lackey Creek somewhere and was out for a swim. I was surprised at how fast he swam.

By the time we got back to the house the Easter Bunny had filled the kids' baskets up with candy. Sherry loaded the children into her automobile shortly thereafter, and they are on their way to meet Mark in Cookeville.

Easter Egg Hunt at the Greenbelt Park

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Birthday to Mom!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bed Cat

Molly, our recently shaven calico cat, has suddenly started sleeping at the foot of our bed this week. She even climbed up and slept on Sherry's pillow for a while the night before last. Sherry loved it, because her beloved Himalayan, Caesar, used to curl up around her head on her pillow every night until he died. Personally, that would drive me nuts, but Sherry still misses it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Growing Boong

With spring's warm weather upon us, Sherry went through Sarah's closet last night and discovered that a lot of the child's warm weather clothes are now too small for her. Sherry filled up two big shopping bags full of clothes, and she's going to take them to work to give to a couple of her colleagues who have girls. There's no need to be concerned with regard to Sarah's wardrobe. The child still has way more clothes than she'll ever wear.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sarah's Registration

Sherry and I went to Fort Craig School and registered Sarah for kindergarten during our lunch hour today. We had enough time afterward to grab lunch at the Midland Restaurant. I have to take Sarah back to the school next week for an appointment, and she also has to see her pediatrician before she is officially ready for kindergarten.

Snow Update

Well, Maryville ended up getting quite a few snow showers since this morning's post. In fact, we had a pretty heavy snow shower just before we left the house at 7:30 a.m., and we had more during the course of the day.

I'm ready to get back to spring.

No Snow for Us

We didn't get any snow on Everett Hill here in Maryville, though the local news is showing video of a bit of snow at one of the campgrounds up in the Smokies. It is 39 degrees here, so even if we see some snow it won't accumulate. It is supposed to be more like spring tomorrow.

Monday, April 6, 2009


My athletically inclined sister, Laura, instructs our diminutive ballerinas, Grace and Sarah.