Saturday, October 31, 2009


My favorite monster was always good ol' Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.


Check out Clap for the Wolfman, he's going to rate your record high.

Double, Double Toil and Trouble


Friday, October 30, 2009


Knoxville View

Laura took this shot of Knoxville recently. I hardly ever get across the river to my old hometown except to visit family and have been feeling a desire to do so. Knoxville and Maryville both grew and changed considerably during the five years I lived in Nashville. I've got my roots sunk back in to Blount County, but I haven't really explored much of what is new in Knoxville, probably because when I'm over there I gravitate to what hasn't changed rather than to what has.

Scary Tree Down at Camp

Leslie reports that the scary tree that has been menacing our beloved cabin in Estill Springs was felled today without incident by Arbor Tree Service of Tullahoma for $250.00. The first bid we got was $600.00, so we were happy with Arbor's price and service. Leslie said that the man she talked to was very nice, and he inspected the property and said we had no other scary trees to worry about. Hat's off to Lester for saving us some dough!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Honorary Daisy Scout

Sarah had her second Daisy Scout meeting today. Sherry wasn't able to take her, so I did, and it was a fun experience. They made pumpkins and bracelets, and had snacks and played on the playground. They are very busy, those Daisy Scouts!

Whitt's Barbecue in Alcoa

Whitt's Barbecue, a Nashville favorite, has a new location at 355 Gill Street in Alcoa in the former location of the Par-T-Pub. They kept the Par-T-Pub drive-through window. There's always room for another good barbecue restaurant in town.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Fish News

Although my office fish perished only a few days after I bought him, the goldfish we've had for a while is beginning to recover from Ich, which we started treating it for last week. We also still have two tadpoles in a jar in the garage that probably need to be set free before they turn into frogs.

Fall Weather

We have had a lot of rain in East Tennessee during the past few weeks, and it rained most of the day yesterday. The local news is reporting that we're in for a couple of sunny, warm days, which will be nice after all the gloominess.

Sarah and I have a new outdoor activity that she greatly enjoys. She picks the red berries off of the next door neighbor's dogwood tree and brings them to me to hold. Then she scolds me about throwing the berries at the cats. After I have accumulated a handful of berries, we pour them down the driveway and watch them roll down the hill. I suspect she will want to do this after school and work today.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Crab Nebula

This is the Crab Nebula viewed via the Hubble Space Telescope.

View of Campus

Laura shot this photo today from her office in the Spam Can building at UT. The undergraduate library is the staired building to the right, and McClung Tower, where I had Russian classes, is the tall building to the left. The bright light to right of McClung is not a missile hitting the art building, but La's flash reflected in her window.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Appalachian Bear Rescue

As I reported a couple of days ago, Sarah's class is raising money for Appalachian Bear Rescue, a local group that provides information about black bears and helps protect the bears, which sometimes have to be euthanized when they become emboldened about coming near humans and our homes. In addition to making her own bed, Sarah is now assisting me with making the big bed for an additional dime a day, so she will have a dime to spend and a dime for her class fundraising effort. I found the photo at another bear website.

Belly Up

I bought a 27 cent goldfish for my office last week, and unfortunately found him floating this morning. I brought the tank home for cleaning, and I'll buy another fish the next time I'm near the pet store.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hanging Out at Grams' House

We had an uneventful trip to Nashville yesterday, and we indulged ourselves with our favorite Nashville pizza, Sir Pizza, last night. Sherry's friend Nazie is in Nashville from Los Angeles for a friend's wedding this weekend, and we met her at Le Peep Restaurant this morning for breakfast and had a nice visit with her. Sherry and Nazie met in third grade, and I enjoy hearing them reminisce about growing up together.

We're back at Grams' house after a visit to the Nashville Humane Society to visit their kitties. Sherry and Joey and Jake just left to pick up some of the boys' friends, who are going to join us to watch the UT/'Bama game this afternoon.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Nashville Trip

We're heading to Nashville after work this evening. Sherry's friend Nazie will be in town from Los Angeles for a wedding, and we're going to have breakfast with her tomorrow morning. My Tennessee Volunteers play Jake and Joey's Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday afternoon in 'Bama, and I imagine we'll try to find a way to watch at least part of the game.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Daisy Scouts

Sherry took Sarah to her first Daisy Scouts meeting today after school. Sherry has volunteered to help lead the scout group, and agreed to be the troop's "Cookie Mom" with responsibility for coordinating sales of Girl Scout cookies. We will have to muster some major will power.

Perpetual Motion Alumna Returns

When I picked Sarah up from kindergarten Tuesday afternoon, she asked (well, begged) me to take her to Perpetual Motion School, where she attended preschool. She got to see her former teachers and classmates, and she was a bit of a celebrity there on the playground, where she now towers over the preschoolers.

She was happy about the visit, but perhaps a bit wistful as well. She said, "I wish I could go to both of my schools."

Sarah's Dimes

Sarah has been making her bed for dimes for twelve days now, and she's been very excited about earning a little money. Her school is having a fundraiser for a local project that helps black bears, and they are making "bear banks" tomorrow. We are to assign her additional tasks to earn more change to donate to the bears. Yesterday she suggested that she make our bed as well as hers, so we'll probably go with that.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Addams Family Composer Dies

Vic Mizzy, who wrote the theme songs to The Addams Family and Green Acres has died at 93. He sang The Addams Family theme as well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Saw a Butterfly Flutter By

This is a preview of Sarah's butterfly Halloween costume. She rode with me to the Kenjo jiffy store on Sunday in this outfit, and the clerks there almost overdosed on her cuteness.

E-mail Denied

I just tried to check my e-mail account, and when I tried to log in I got a screen that said I have to have Comcast internet service to use the e-mail. We had Comcast service in Nashville, which was two and a half years ago, and we kept using the e-mail because we didn't want to change our addresses. Now, without warning, Comcast discontinued this courtesy. It would have been nice to have had notice so we could have downloaded our address books.

UPDATE: Now it's working fine. Go figure.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Birthday Weekend Photos

Front row, left to right: Graham, Jake and Sarah
Back row: Brandon, Joey and Quay
Jake and Mark at the bottom of the big slide
Birthday cakes

Is it just me, or is Graham really tall?

Titans' Despair

The NFL's Tennessee Titans are having a worse football season (so far) than the University of Tennessee Volunteers. The Titans have lost all six of the games they've played this season, including last night's 59-0 loss to New England in the snow. Ouch!

Beef Stew Breakfast

Our beef stew wasn't ready by supper time, even though we set the crock pot on high, and it had cooked for several hours. Sherry turned it down to low, and we let it cook overnight. It smells delightful!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Back at Home

We left Sevierville around 11:00 a.m., and the Ferrelli clan was right behind us. I don't envy them the three hours on the road home to Nashville. We have a beef stew starting to cook in the crock pot, and we're looking forward to the wonderful smell of bay, celery and slowly cooking beef that will soon fill the house.

Blogging in the Wilderness

Sarah and I have left everyone else upstairs asleep and have found our way to the business center here at Wilderness at the Smokies. As you might expect, the children played hard at the water park. We went out to eat at Ruby Tuesday yesterday for supper, and then everyone but me went back to the water park. I got absorbed in an America and the Courts program on C-SPAN and decided to call it a day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Overalls Repaired

Last winter one of the clips on my overalls broke in the washing machine so that I could no longer clip the strap to the bib of the overalls. Like blue jeans, you have to break a pair of overalls in, and this pair was broken in nicely.

Since nothing else was wrong with the overalls, I called Liberty, the manufacturer, to request a new clip. The nice lady I talked to sent me a new clip, and I was able to repair the overalls, just in time for cooler weather.

Boys' Water Park Birthday

As I reported earlier this week, Joey and Jake celebrated their 14th birthday on Tuesday. Their dad and his girlfriend are bringing them and three of their friends here today, and we're all going up to Sevierville to Wilderness at the Smokies, a resort that features a great indoor water park. Mark and Tara are renting a room, and so are we. I guess we'll divide up kids between the two rooms.

They were planning on being on the road early, and they're going to stop here for lunch before we drive up Sevierville Road. Since we have five teenagers to feed, we're going with a simple menu, Sloppy Joes and fries, followed by birthday cake.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sunrise on the Beach

Sarah is intrigued by my morning walk, which I resumed in July. She made a point to get up early at the beach to go walking with me. Although I couldn't get my three miles in with her tagging along, we had fun sharing the experience of watching the sun come up at the coast.

So Long, Cellular Telephone

I acquired a cellular telephone in early 2007 when we were in the process of moving to Maryville from Nashville, and I have carried the thing for three years now. I decided this week to give mine up, especially since Sherry always carries hers. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Writing Postcards

I learned to enjoy writing post cards very early in life, and I still use vacation as an excuse to drop friends and family a line or two. Everyone likes to get something fun in the mailbox, and a post card is an inexpensive and easy way to let people know you're thinking about them. As usual, I bought stamps and cards on our fall trip. For the first time, Sarah helped me write the post cards. She's a good helper.

Maryville Ready for Fall Festival

Our community is busy preparing for the Foothills Fall Festival, which begins tomorrow. I saw activity at the courthouse and Greenbelt Park yesterday as people started setting things up. The courthouse closed at noon today to accommodate the festival, and I imagine that navigating downtown by vehicle is going to be problematic until Monday. The Daily Times has more.

We're going up to Sevierville Saturday to celebrate Jake and Joey's birthday, more about which later. Hopefully we can visit the festival Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


When I come home for lunch these days, I usually catch a bit of the noon news on WBIR, the local NBC affiliate. After the news, the Beverly Hillbillies comes on, and I have always been amused by its portrayal of people from my part of the world.

An actress named Irene Ryan played Daisy "Granny" Moses on the series. She was successful in vaudeville and radio before hitting it big as Granny on television. She died without surviving family and left her estate to fund scholarships for aspiring actors. Not bad for someone who got famous playing a cantankerous old woman from Bugtussle, Tennessee.

Another Day, Another Dime

We have a new arrangement with Sarah whereby she makes her bed every morning, a task I usually perform, and we pay her a dime each day for doing so. I told her when she had ten dimes, she could then spend her dollar. She's been doing a good job so far, and she's accumulated six dimes.

Emergency Landing in Nashville

The Nashville City Paper reports that a plane had to make an emergency landing in Nashville yesterday after a passenger got out of hand. The other passengers subdued the man, and the pilot landed the plane. Scary!

Rainy Day

It started raining during my walk this morning, and I finished my last mile in a steady drizzle. It rained all morning, and it is still raining out there now. My office in the justice center is on the first floor of a three-story building, and it is on the interior of the building away from the external walls. Strangely, I can hear the rain from my office. I can't quite figure that one out.

Water Fountains

We took Sarah to the Destin Commons Mall while were in Florida so she could see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs at the Rave movie theater there. We arrive in time to see the 11:30 a.m. show that was advertised in the local newspaper, but when we got to the theater the first show listed started at 1:00 p.m. We decided to give the movie a miss on that particular day, though Sherry took Sarah to see it last weekend. Across from the entrance to the theater, we found these fountains. Sarah and I both got drenched playing in the water.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Molly Returns

Molly came back with a crew cut. They didn't sedate her like they usually do, and so she wasn't woozy like she usually is after being groomed. Nevertheless, she's been humbled by the experience, which in my view is good for a cat every now and then. Both Sherry and Sarah have been concerned about her. Sarah went with me to the vet to drop Molly off and pick her back up again, and Sherry met us in the driveway to check on her when we got her home. Emma, our older, short-haired calico, hissed at Molly, who promptly ate and curled up to sleep. So endeth the cat grooming.

Happy Birthday, Joey and Jake!

My stepsons, Jake and Joey, celebrate their 14th birthday today. We looked through some of our old photo albums Sunday, and it is hard to believe how much they've grown since I met them in 2001, when they were about to turn six. Now their sister is that age, and next year will no doubt bring learners' permits for the boys. Time flies!

Molly Smells Like Vienna Sausages

Last week Sarah was trying to communicate something to me. It had to do with hot dogs, and since she'd been sick, I hoped she was hungry. Sometimes she likes to have hot dogs without the buns, but that wasn't it. Corn dogs? No. When she told me they were little and came in a can, I guessed, "Vienna sausages?" Sarah said, "Yeah. Molly smells like those."

Molly, the furrier of our two calico cats, indeed needs a haircut, though to this day I have not detected the aroma of Vienna sausages about her. I'm taking her to the vet this morning to have her groomed before it gets much colder or she gets any smellier.

Snapshots from the Beach

Sarah and friend

Sarah, Captain Randy and Sherry at Crab Island

Sarah and I feed fish at Destin Harbor.

Sarah and a sandpiper

Death of a Modem

Inexplicably, our modem died last week. We called AT&T, and they sent us a new one, which arrived yesterday. After about an hour on the telephone last night, we finally have internet service again.

Sherry and Sarah recently started a virtual farm on Facebook, so they had to call Jake to get him to tend the farm while our computers were down. Since we traveled two weekends in a row, we planned last weekend for down time, and if we had internet service I would have spent some time this weekend blogging. I'm glad we're back up and running.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Restaurant Review: Another Broken Egg, Destin, Florida

We've seen Another Broken Egg restaurant in Destin, Florida, many times, and finally paid them a visit during Sarah's fall break last week. It was everything you want a breakfast restaurant at the beach to be. Sherry and I each got an entree, and then split both of them. One was Stan's #1 Omelet, which combines crawfish, shrimp, mushrooms, ham, Cajun seasonings and Jack and cheddar cheese. The other was Crabcakes Cavallo, which was crabcake, two poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, infused with andouille sausage and scallions. The rest of the menu was similarly interesting, and our big breakfast was delicious! Sarah, of course, had a pancake, which she devoured happily.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nasty Virus, and I Don't Mean a Computer Virus

Beginning Sunday, Sarah came down with what her doctor opined was a virus. She woke up with a temperature of 101.9 Monday morning, so I stayed home with her. I came down with it that night, and we were both out of commission yesterday, though she felt better than I did. Poor Sherry's been coming home to a convalescent ward! Even the cats were worrying about us. Fortunately, everyone felt okay this morning, and we made it through the school and work day without anyone keeling over. Regular blogging should resume accordingly.

La's Loonapix

My sister Laura recently discovered the Loonapix website, and these are two of her creations.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Home From the Beach

We drove to Nashville from Florida on Saturday and celebrated Sherry's birthday at Kobe Japanese Steak House near Centennial Park. We got back to Maryville yesterday around lunch time, and unloaded the car and did laundry and other household duties you have to attend to when you've been out of town.

Mom, Laura and Stewart and Grace, and Leslie and Frazier brought a beef roast and macaroni and cheese over. We had a nice feast and visit, and after our company left we had some quiet time to unwind after a busy week of travel.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sherry!

Happy birthday to my beautiful wife!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cool Effect

I used to create this simulated drawing of Sarah from a photograph of her. Very cool!

Molly the Calico Cat

Double extenders

Double extenders with a crossover

Fierce beast protects Barbies.

Belly cat

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rat Cake

I found this horrible rat cake on the Cake Wrecks blog, which has a new look since I last saw it. I understand that the blogger has composed a book, which should do well.