Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

We have reached the end of 2014.  Sherry and I have no big plans for New Year's Eve, and most likely both of us will be asleep before the stroke of midnight tonight.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Glandomorph Cardinal

This cardinal is a glandomorph, which is to say it is half male and half female, which explains the two-toned plumage.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Andrew Johnson's Birthday

On December 29, 1808, Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, but he made his home as an adult in Greeneville, Tennessee, where he worked as a tailor.  He became active in politics and eventually became United States President upon the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  Johnson was the third and last Tennessean to serve as President.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014

Here are a few photographs from our Christmas morning here on the hill.  It took us a while to get Joey and Jake out of bed, but they were up by 8:00 a.m., which is commendable for teenage boys.
Sarah's grandmothers teamed up to buy her a new gaming system this year.  Here she is tearing into it, and she's been glued to it to the extent that we will allow it ever since.
My mom is a psychotherapist, so we bought her a pair of Freudian slippers for Christmas this year. What else do you get for the gift for the shrink who has everything?
When the boys are in town, we have to step up our cooking game.  I discovered that hushpuppies, a Southern staple, are very easy to make.  The batch I made disappeared pretty quickly, so they apparently liked them.
Laura, Stewart and Grace spent Christmas with his family in Canada, so we celebrated Christmas with them a couple of weekends ago.  Mom spent the night with us Christmas Eve, and Leslie arrived later in the morning for Christmas dinner of honey baked ham, sweet potato casserole, raspberry congealed salad, Leslie's salad and pecan pie.  No one left hungry, and Mom and Les spent most of the rest of the day hanging out with us.
Jake gives his sister pointers on her new gaming system.
We just got back from our Christmas celebration with Sherry's mom in Nashville.  For her Christmas feast Friday, Grams and her cousin Mary Helen had a second honey baked ham, mac and cheese, a family cooked fruit recipe with pears, peaches and apricots sprinkled with cinnamon, deviled eggs, cheese grits and assorted desserts.

The Nashville Cat Show coincided with our visit, and we stayed at the site of the event at a reduced rate, which was nice.  Sherry's mom raised show cats during Sherry's childhood, and I know they both enjoyed sharing the cat show with Sarah.  I strolled around with them for about an hour, but they spent several hours visiting with cats and their owners and watching the judging while I relaxed in the room watching a Harry Potter marathon.  

After the gals finished up with the cat show, Sherry drove Grams back home while Sarah and I went down to the indoor pool.  There were several families there, and Sarah made friends with a little girl she met in the pool.  After Sherry returned (with Jim and Nick's barbecue!), we got to sleep at a decent hour and launched in time this morning to get home by about noon today.  We are all glad to be home after a busy and fun Nashville Christmas visit.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Kitten to Cat

Molly the cat has grown quite a bit since the top picture was taken. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Surreal Christmas Cards by Salvador Dali

This is a Christmas card designed by noted surrealist Salvador Dali.  There are a few more here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Just in Time for the Holidays

Christmas in the Mountains

 Sarah and I met Laura at Mountain Springs Chalet last weekend, and Sevier County is decked out for the Christmas season.  These pretty Christmas trees welcome visitors to Gatlinburg coming in from Pigeon Forge.
The ground was wet, and we had to work at it to get a fire going even though we had firestarter and some dry wood.  Once we had the fire going we were pretty lazy, and we ordered pizza and wings from Chalet Village Market for supper.  As you can see, Laura brought some Christmas decorations to spruce up the chalet for incoming guests.
Sarah bunked on the sofa, and she and I were both up early this morning.  I watched cartoons with here until Laura woke up, and we all ate breakfast at Shoney's on the way out of town.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Winter Solstice

Today is the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year, meaning the days start getting a bit longer each day after today until the summer solstice in June.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

More From Last Saturday

Here are a few more snapshots from our early Christmas festivities at La and Stew's last weekend.  Sarah has been learning piano at school, and she plays a lovely rendition of "Up on the Housetop" and "Good King Wenceslas."
Sarah and Grace contemplate what early Christmas loot they are about to receive.
My lovely wife poses with her dinner.
Sarah and Auntie Les haven't been able to play tennis much recently because of the wintery weather, but they got to enjoy some quality time at La's last weekend.
This is the view from Laura's dock on the Little River looking upstream.  It is a great place to swim and float in the summer.
Laura restored the baby grand piano that Dad grew up playing in Grandmother and Granddaddy's house in Winchester, Tennessee.  By the time we came along, the piano had fallen out of tune.  It is wonderful to experience my daughter playing the same piano my father learned on as a child.
This author poses with his good lady wife.
I didn't take many pictures last weekend for whatever reason.  Thankfully, both of my sisters took some good ones, many of which I share here.  Thanks gals!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Decorations

Here are a few pictures of some of our indoor Christmas decorating, including our stockings hanging from the mantle.  We have some outdoor lights in the bushes in our front yard, but I can never get a good picture of them.
We went for convenience this year and got our tree at the Home Depot rather than cutting one at a tree farm. 
Sherry bought Sarah and little artificial purple tree, and the child likes to decorate it and display it in her room each year with decorations she selects from the family stockpile.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Boston Tea Party

On December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty destroyed a shipment of tea from England to protest being taxed by a Parliament in which Americans had no representation.  The incident is known to history as the Boston Tea Party.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Larry the Lobster IRL

This biologist caught this 11.5 pound lobster while diving near a California island.  Rather than breaking out the clarified butter, the biologist befriended the creature and took him home to meet the family and visit a local sea center.  He later set him free in a protected marine reserve.  Nice story.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

An Early Christmas Feast

Here are a few snapshots from our Christmas gathering yesterday with the Grahams.  Frazier showed up sporting a beard.
Leslie made her salad with craisins, nuts and feta.  It is always a crowd pleaser.
I decided to pass on fishing, but I climbed down the stairs to the lake to find a couple of anglers casting along the shoreline just downstream from Laura's dock.
We had a nice afternoon.  The adults talked, and the kids played in Grace's room until dinner.  After we feasted, we exchanged gifts with La and Stew and Grace, who are traveling this Christmas.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Family Gathering

Sherry and Sarah are in downtown Maryville for the annual Christmas parade.  I decided to pass on the parade so that I could do our weekly grocery shopping.  Later this afternoon we're gathering at Laura and Stewart's house on the Little River to exchange gifts with them since they will be out of town this Christmas.  Mom bought a ham, and we're bringing a casserole of macaroni and cheese.   Leslie is bringing a salad, and Laura is covering some other sides, so I don't think anyone will leave hungry.

It is sunny outside, and although it is cold right now, temperatures are predicted to be in the 50's today.  I expect at some point some of us will make it down to the river, so I'm considering whether I want to go out in the back yard to dig up some worms for fishing.  I noticed the sun shining on the neighbor's mulch pile, which seems like a good place to look for worms.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Buford Pusser

Legendary lawman Buford Pusser of McNairy County, Tennessee, was born on December 12, 1937.  His story was told in the movie Walking Tall.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Remember Summer?

With winter just ten days ahead of us, I like to think about summer at the beach.  Here's a snapshot Leslie took down in Florida to nourish your Caribbean soul.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Slytherin Cat

Sarah was reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and Molly decided it would make a nice pillow.  Sherry is convinced the cat is a Slytherin.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Restaurant Review -- Surin of Thailand, Knoxville, Tennessee

Sherry and I recently dined at Surin of Thailand, 6213 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee.  It had a pleasant dining room that was dimly lit with green accent lighting that was very cool, and this Buddha meditates as people dine.  I had the duck with red curry, which was very nice.  They served a really interesting, savory and tangy soup before the entree, and we also ordered crab angels as appetizers, the latter being crab and cream cheese breaded and deep-fried.  We had a coupon from one of those coupon books schools have kids hawk as fundraisers, and it saved us nine dollars on our tab.  Our server was very gracious and professional, and the price was reasonable for such a nice establishment.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pearl Harbor Day

On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launched a sneak attack on the United States Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, causing much destruction and loss of life and bringing the United States into World War II, which turned out not to be a good thing for Japan or her ally Germany.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Wet Morning

We'd hoped to bring home a Christmas tree this morning, but a gulley washer came through when we were making our rounds, so we passed.  I've hauled most of our Christmas gear out of our basement, and we're slowly and tentatively beginning to deck our halls.  We also have some chili on the stove, and it is starting to smell good.

While we were out and about we noticed that the new Foothills Milling Company Bakery just down the hill from us at Five Points here in Maryville has "Opening Soon" on their sign now.  Also, when we were leaving the library, Sarah pointed out that Hot Rods 50's Diner has some nice new signage and artwork on its exterior.  Our community continues to develop and grow.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Manatee Bone

We had hoped to see a manatee in the wild during our fall trip to Florida, but the closest we got to seeing one was finding this bone, which our cousin John identified as a manatee finger bone.  It is the most unusual beach souvenir for our family since bringing home some of Captain Randy's ashes last summer.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Restaurant Review -- Frussie's Deli and Sandwich Shoppe, Knoxville, Tennessee

I had a class over in downtown Knoxville a couple of weeks ago, and on the way back to Maryville I stopped in for a sandwich at Frussie's Deli and Sandwich Shoppe at 133 Moody Avenue, which is just off Chapman Highway in South Knoxville.  I had their Italian sub, and it was served up quickly on freshly baked bread.  It was quite good, although pricey with the sandwich and iced tea costing $11.42.  I also tossed a buck and the pocket change in the tip jar, making it a $13.00 meal.  Most of the restaurants between downtown Knoxville and Maryville Pike are chain stores, though, and Frussie's is one of the few places in the area where you can get something local to eat, so it is definitely worth a visit.

Monday, December 1, 2014

"Beam Me to Floyd's Barber Shop, Mr. Scott."

I recently learned that a couple of Star Trek original series episodes had scenes shot on the same set used by the Andy Griffith Show.  Here Captain Kirk and a lady friend pass by Floyd's Barber Shop.  (Via Neatorama)


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Antique Archaeology in Winchester

The Winchester Herald Chronicle reported last week that a van with the Antique Archaeology logo on it parked on the courthouse square for a couple of hours.  Word quickly spread around town, and local folks were on the prowl for Mike and Frank from the American Pickers television show.  It turned out to be a scout from the Nashville Antique Archaeology store checking out John T's BBQ for the show.  The restaurant displays antiques as well as cooking barbecue, so it seems a good fit for the show.