Sunday, May 31, 2009

Two More Birds

Molly, our younger calico, has now flushed out two more birds, and I've managed to throw towels over the birds and get them outside. I did not plan to be this active after driving three hours, but at this point it's the birds versus the cats and me. I'm betting on the cats.

Back to Civilization

We have returned from our weekend sojourn to our family cabin in Estill Springs, Tennessee, on the bank of Taylor Creek. The weather was wonderful and sunny, and the creek was surprisingly warm for this early in the season, though it was still very cold. Sherry and the kids and I went out there Friday evening, and Laura and Les and Fraz joined us midday Saturday. Sherry also drove with the boys to Murfreesboro on Saturday to pick up Jake and Joey's friend Graham, who commented upon his arrival, "Man, this place is beautiful." I agree.

Sarah and I did a bit of cleaning in the house until Sherry and J&J and Graham got back, and then we all went creekside to enjoy the river. The kids caught fish, tadpoles, periwinkles (small black water snails) and crawdads. The boys also built the best dam I've ever seen on that creek, including dams we built in college. The neighbors who live across the creek from us cut down a large tree that was leaning from our property toward the creek, and the boys used some of the huge logs from the tree as part of their dam. It raised the water level significantly, which gave us a good little pool to play in.

The neighbors also mowed the grass on our side of the creek, so everything looked really nice out there. We've always appreciated good neighbors out there. They asked last year if we minded if they mow our side. Heck no! I was thrilled to see the tree down, and they cut it into pieces for us and rolled the logs up into our firepit. Needless to say, we kept a fire burning all day and night.

Dead Bird

We've had a bird's nest in the top of our chimney for several weeks now, and the cats have been quite interested in the fluttering and chirping that they hear coming from the fireplace. When we got home from the cabin, I noticed bird droppings in our kitchen. We later discovered the deceased bird in our dining room. Fortunately, the cats did not tear it up and spread it all over the house, so the droppings are the extent of the mess.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Batman



Synchronous Fireflies

The rangers in the Smokies are getting ready for visitors coming to the park to see the synchronous fireflies in the Elkmont area. I have seen them at Abrams Creek and Look Rock campgrounds, but we may have to camp up at Elkmont if that is where we're most likely to see them.

Missing Their Momma

Jake and Joey are missing their momma, so she's going to meet Mark after work in Cookeville to pick them up for their first extended visit of the summer. Since I'm off work most of next week I plan to come up with some day trips for us. I'll probably keep Sarah out of school most of next week as well, and I'm hoping to scare up a camping trip somewhere if the weather will allow it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Four-Day Week

The fringe benefit of a three-day weekend is a four-day work week. Also, I'm taking most of the next week after this one off work, and I'll probably take the kids on some day trips. We're going to our cabin in Estill Springs this weekend, and I'm looking forward to enjoying our little shack in the woods.

We spent our Memorial Day hanging out here at home. We hung some pictures and did a bit of cleaning, but other than that we just took it easy. Mom came out for a visit and some fried chicken, and Sarah's friend Eli from next door came over and played with her for a while. It was a nice holiday weekend.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

They died defending us and our freedom.

Weekend Food Blogging

We're making the most of the long weekend here at Stately Ogle Manor, and as usual our weekend includes the preparation of food, especially since Joey and Jake and their friend Graham are coming to visit us later this week. With three teenage boys getting ready to arrive, we'd better be prepared with some food.

Yesterday Sherry made pimiento cheese, and we all three collaborated on a pizza. I put too much oregano and basil on my third, and I have learned from my error. This morning I cooked some Purnell breakfast sausage, which is what they serve at Cracker Barrel, for the week, and I've got chicken frying on the stove even as I type.

Sarah and Kitties

Sherry and Sarah hit the jackpot the last time they visited the Nashville Humane Association. Here are a couple of photos of Sarah hanging out with the kittens they found there.

Joey and Jake

I found this photo of Joey and Jake on Sherry's desktop. They were about two in this picture.

Springbrook Pool

After a cloudy morning, the sun came out, so we went to Springbrook Pool and spent a couple of hours yesterday. There was a good crowd, but it wasn't as packed as I've seen it, especially for the first weekend of the season. We used the John Sevier pool more last year since it is nearer to our house, but Sarah loved the slide at Springbrook and wore herself out taking turns on it with all the other kids. I even got a little bit of sun.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Family Outing to El Sazon

We met Mom, Laura and Les and Fraz at El Sazon Mexican restaurant yesterday afternoon. Afterward, we followed everyone over to La's house so that Sarah and Grace could play together. We eventually made it back to the house, and Sarah and I cleaned her wading pool and washed Sherry's car. It was a pleasant day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Birthday Party at John Sevier Park

We just got back from one of Sarah's classmate's birthday party at nearby John Sevier Park, which is right next to the pool. It is a warm day today in East Tennessee, and that blue pool water looked mighty inviting. It was a fun event for the kids and adults alike, and we had a good time chatting with some of Sarah's friends' parents.

Fort Craig Newsletter

Sherry volunteered to put together the Dynapulse newsletter at Fort Craig School, where Sarah will begin kindergarten in July. Her first one is online here. We're both excited that she is able to contribute to the school in this way.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Princess Party

Here are a couple of photos from the princess event Sherry and Sarah went to last Friday night at Bebe Salon in Maryville.

Ice Cream Ball

Sherry's dad bought me one of these unique ice cream makers for Christmas a couple of years ago, and it makes a nice batch of ice cream. You put the ingredients in one end of it, and the ice and salt in the other. After that you close it up and pass the ball around for fifteen minutes or so. There's more on the Play and Freeze ice cream maker here.

Three-Day Weekend

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and because we traveled to Nashville last weekend we're going to stay close to home for the holiday weekend. Sherry and I are going to the Blount County Lincoln Day Dinner this evening, and Sarah is going over to Mom's to spend the night tonight. I'll probably drive over to Mom's at the crack of dawn tomorrow to pick Sarah up, inasmuch as she has been invited to a classmate's birthday party at 10:30 tomorrow morning.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Preschool Graduation

Here is Sarah accepting her diploma from Ms. Nancy at Perpetual Motion School. Although Sarah will continue to attend the school until July, several of her classmates' last day there is tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Concert Photos

Here are a few photographs from the Billy Joel/Elton John concert in Nashville last Saturday.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Womenfolk on the Way Home

I'm at the house for lunch, and I just called Sherry and learned that she and Sarah are already on the road and heading for home. Sarah has a graduation program tonight at her preschool, which should be entertaining. Kindergarten is upon us.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Shining Rock Wilderness

This is a webcam view looking into Shining Rock Wilderness in western North Carolina.

Monday Evening

Mondays are always busy in Division II Circuit Court, and today was no exception. I think it is nice for the work week to start with a busy day, because it sets a good tempo for the rest of the week.

Sherry and Sarah stayed in Nashville for a couple of extra days because Mark and Tara are out of town on a business trip, and Sherry decided to stay to be with Jake and Joey for a long weekend. She and Sarah spent two hours at the Nashville Humane Society today loving on the ten kittens they have there. Sarah was trying to convince her mother to bring them all home. Sherry wisely, though no doubt regretfully, denied the child's request. They'll be home, sans kitties, tomorrow. I and our duo of cats will be glad to have them home.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Concert Review: Elton John/Billy Joel Face to Face Tour


For her mom's birthday this year, Sherry and I bought the three of us tickets to see the Billy Joel/Elton John Face to Face tour in Nashville, and the show was last night at the Sommet Center. Our seats were behind the stage, but they turned out to be pretty decent seats, especially since Billy Joel's piano rotated.

The two performers began the show onstage facing each other from across their grand pianos, and they performed several numbers before Billy Joel left the stage to make way for Elton's band. Elton and his band were onstage for the better part of an hour, and Billy Joel and his band took the stage immediately after Elton and his band departed with no intermission.
I'd say Billy Joel played for as long as Elton did, and both of them played a lot of songs I wanted to hear. The show ended as it began, with the two pianists onstage together playing each other's songs. The show concluded, of course, with the two of them playing Joel's "Piano Man." They let the crowd sing one of the refrains, and I am always amazed to see human group activity on that scale. I sang myself hoarse last night. (I'm glad it was too loud for anyone to hear me.)

I thought the contrast in the two entertainers' styles was interesting. Elton was typically flamboyant, with sequins, pink sunglasses and tails. Billy Joel wore a suit and tie. Elton would play a song, then stand up, take a drink of water, point into the crowd to work them up and then sit back down to start the next song. Billy Joel talked to the crowd more, and I thought it was especially cool that he got Nashville's Arthur Resnick, who co-wrote the Rascals' hit "Good Lovin'" to join the show onstage to play that number with him and his band.
The crowd was surprisingly young, and I noticed a lot of the kids around us texting friends and sending photographs and movies with their cellular telephones. The show began at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time, and ended around midnight, so we got our money's worth. Sherry persuaded Mark to babysit Sarah thinking that Jake and Joey would be at home so that the siblings could play, but the boys had social events to attend, which I suppose is not surprising for thirteen-year-old boys on a Saturday night. Mark and his girlfriend Tara were kind enough to host Sarah anyway. I gave Mark and Tara a ride to the Nashville Airport on the way home this morning, and to hear them tell the tale it sounds like they made a fun evening of it.
I went to bed at 2:00 a.m. this morning, which is way past my bedtime, and because I have the Curse of Steve, my poor pea brain turned on at about 6:00 a.m. I will sleep well tonight.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Princess Night

One of the beauty salons in town, Bebe's Salon, hosted a Princess Night for kids yesterday evening. Sarah had such a hard time deciding which of her many princess outfits to wear. She ended up selecting a blue number with a pointy hat, and she came home with a very pretty up do, which I understand is quite popular in princess circles these days.

Heading for Nashville

One of the schools Sherry attended in Nashville is having an reunion event this morning, so we're going to hit the road early to go to it. She talked to one of her friends that attended the school with her last night, and we're going to meet her there. By the time we've done that, Jake and Joey should be up and at 'em, and we'll find somewhere to have lunch with them and Grams.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Elton John/Billy Joel Concert

Sherry and I are taking her mother to see the Elton John/Billy Joel concert at the Sommet Center in Nashville this Saturday night. The tour played St. Paul, Minnesota, last week, and I found a review of the show here. Last Saturday, Billy Joel turned 60.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Meat Loaf Recipe

I'm pretty happy with the meatloaf recipe I usually use, but this one sounds like it would make a pretty good meatloaf as well. Pass the mashed potatoes!

Gotcha!

This is an image of the Hubble Space Telescope in the tender grip of the robotic arm of space shuttle Atlantis. According to NASA:

Space shuttle Atlantis met up with the Hubble Space Telescope today. The grapple of the telescope using the shuttle’s robotic arm took place at 1:14 p.m. EDT. The telescope will be latched to a high-tech, “lazy Susan” device known as the Flight Support System for the duration of the servicing work.

Celebrity Treatment

I have discovered that when I have lunch with Sarah at school I am something of a minor celebrity to the kids, and of course Sarah also enjoys the attention. I got there right at 11:30 a.m., which is when they serve lunch, and I had my lunch and was able to be back here at the house by 11:50. It is hard to beat a free fifteen minute pizza lunch with your five-year-old.

Pizza Day at Sarah's School

I noticed on the bulletin board at Sarah's school that today is pizza day. I'll probably try and make it over there to have lunch with her.

Flash Rave at UT

I've heard of a rave before, but not a flash rave, which is apparently a guerrilla dance party that suddenly erupts somewhere, in this instance in the main undergraduate library at the University of Tennessee. It would have definitely interfered with my ability to study.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Intruder Cat

We had our garage door open over the weekend, and a neighborhood cat has been hiding in our garage. We left the garage door open for a while yesterday morning, and the cat seems to have evacuated our basement.

Atlantis in Orbit

Space Shuttle Atlantis is in orbit on a mission to perform maintenance on the Hubble Space Telescope.

Peanut Butter Candy Bar Cheesecake

This recipe, from a new blog, Nosh and Tell, calls for, among other things, crushed Nutter Butter sandwich cookies, chopped up Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Butterfingers, and of course, heavy cream.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Blount BBQ Bash 2009


We attended the Blount BBQ Bash yesterday in Alcoa, and Sarah got her face painted. My friend Johnny and his wife, Karen, are in town from Atlanta for a wedding, and Johnny and their kids, Natalie and Teddy, came over to spend the afternoon, so we all went to the barbecue and left just as the rain was starting. While I was there, I saw several friends.

I wanted to buy some barbecue by the pound, since Mom, La and Grace and Les and Frazier were coming over for the afternoon as well. I was directed toward one particular vendor, and when I got to the front of the line there was Maryville attorney Steve Greene. I had heard that Steve makes some wonderful barbecue, and he sent me home with a pork butt to feed my family and friends. His barbecue lived up to its reputation. Yum!

Mother's Day Outing

We celebrated Mother's Day with a brunch at the Tomato Head restaurant on Broadway in downtown Maryville. Pictured above from left to right are Joey, Jake, Sarah and Sherry.
The Ogle kids pose with our Mom, Wanette Bolen, LCSW. From left to right are Laura, Mom, me and Leslie. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Having a Ball

Mom bought Sarah a ball last weekend, and the child has been having a blast with it. It is amazing how happy a $2.00 plastic ball can make a five-year-old. We have moved quickly to enforce the No Playing Ball in the House rule.

Friday, May 8, 2009

New Job

I have a new job, which will begin in July. I am very excited about it, though I will miss working in the DA's office. There's more here.

Gang's All Here

Sarah had quite an audience for her "ballet recital" last night. Mom, Les and Fraz and Laura and Grace all came out for the show. Sarah is usually a bit jealous of her younger cousin, but she and Gracie played nicely together before we walked down to the rec center for the show. The dancers were from ages five to seven, and they drew a pretty good crowd for their performance.

After work today, Sherry will drive to Cookeville to meet Mark to bring Jake and Joey and their friend River here for the Mother's Day weekend. We plan to drive up to Laura and Stewart's Cozy Creek Cabin in Gatlinburg to spend the day and night Saturday. I suspect we'll also spend some time walking the Parkway in Gatlinburg before we settle in at the cabin.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ballet Recital

Sarah's last ballet class, which is a performance for the dancers' families, is this evening. Mom and Les and Fraz are coming to see it, which will be a fun family midweek event for us. Perhaps we'll be able to talk them into having supper with us as well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo

On May 5, 1862, Mexican forces defeated a much larger French army at Puebla, Mexico, and drove the French to the sea. The American Civil War was well underway, and the defeat of the French removed a threat not only to Mexico, but also to the Federal government, which feared the French might ally themselves with the Confederacy. It is well that we celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, in the United States.

We had lunch with Les and Fraz at El Sazon Mexican Restaurant over the weekend to get a jump on the celebration.

Busy Week

We're working through a rather busy week. Tonight is "Meet the Teacher" night at Sarah's new school, Fort Craig School, where she will soon be attending kindergarten. Tomorrow the child has a hairdo appointment, and Thursday she has her final ballet class, which includes a recital. Sherry is driving to Cookeville Friday to pick up Joey and Jake for the weekend, so her nights for the rest of the week are booked.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

American Lion

I browsed the Tennessee Bar Journal this morning and found a book review of American Lion, a biography of Andrew Jackson by Jon Meacham. I hope it is out in audiobook form by the time we go to the beach this summer so I can listen to it on the drive to Florida and back.


Harpeth River Flooding in Bellevue

Nashville's had a lot of rain lately, and the Tennessean reports this morning that the Harpeth River in Bellevue is expected to reach flood stage today, if it hasn't already. The article says that the parking lot for the walking trail in our former neighborhood is under water, and we've seen that area under water before. There are a lot of waterfowl in that area, so the birds should be happy, though the high water can make getting out and about challenging to those of us who must travel by automobile.

Craving Mountains

I've been craving the mountains as spring comes upon us, and we've done a pretty good job of getting up into them to enjoy them so far this season. I've been meaning to take Sherry and the kids up the Dragon to Fontana Lake, which is the southern border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, sometime in the near future. I found an interesting article in this morning's News Sentinel about the Hike Inn, a Fontana hotel that caters to hikers.

Saturday Visiting

Mom, Les and Fraz, and La and Gracie came over for a visit yesterday, and we had a nice afternoon just relaxing and chatting. Sarah went with Mom to spend the night, which is always a treat for both of them. I'll probably head across the river to pick Sarah up shortly after sunrise, and dawn is already beginning to break.

As usual, there is cooking going on at our place on the weekend. Yesterday I made our cheesy potato casserole, and we plan on making our breakfast casserole today. I also have the ingredients for pizza, and we'll probably throw together a pepperoni pizza today, too.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Emma the Meek

I just came upstairs to find Emma, our more nervous feline, hiding under the covers. The satellite television technician was just here, and Emma heads for the blankets when strangers are about.

Bern's Bear Pit


The famous Bear Pit in Bern, Switzerland, has closed after the last remaining bear, Pedro, was euthanized. Mom and I visited the Bear Pit when we went to the museum in Bern during our Europe trip in the late 90's. Bern plans to open a bear park, which will provide a more pleasant life for the bears than the pit. The closing of the Bear Pit ends a tradition that existed almost 500 years:

Bern's Bear Pit dates back to at least 1513, when the chronicler Valerius Anshelm described the Bernese Army's return from a military victory with a living bear as booty. The animal was put in the defensive trench along the city walls.

Saturday Morning

Sarah was awake and waiting for me when I got out of the shower this morning, and she's busy drawing a diagram of her classroom at school. Once the sun comes up I plan to run this morning's errands because Sherry has a hairdo appointment later in the morning, and we have to be home at noon to await the cable guy, who will hopefully get our bedroom television working again. I'm ready for a restful weekend at the homestead after last weekend's travels.