Saturday, February 28, 2015

Busy Weekend

Yesterday Sarah's theater group, Primary Players, performed Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr. twice for local schoolchildren and once in the evening for the general public.  Sherry's mom, also known as Grams, drove in from Nashville to attend the evening performance, and they're all still sleeping downstairs.

Mom and Laura and Leslie are coming to today's matinee, and we're all going to eat out afterward in celebration of Grams' birthday. Sherry and Sarah will then return to the Clayton Center for this evening's performance.  They have another performance tomorrow, and then the cast party, so they have a busy weekend ahead of them. I probably need to haul the branches that the ice brought down up to the curb this weekend because next week is when the city picks up that sort of thing.  Hopefully it will get warm enough today to melt most of the snow.

Friday, February 27, 2015

R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek series, died today from lung disease at age 83. I suspect I'm not the only Trek fan who came home from work today and watched Spock's death scene in Wrath of Khan.

Lincoln's Cooper Union Speech

On February 27, 1860, Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Cooper Union speech against the spread of slavery.  The speech is credited with propelling him toward the Presidency.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snowman and Sledding

Sarah and I went outside to play in the snow for a while this morning. Although sledding down our driveway earned the child a fractured tibia last February, we was at it again today, this time without injure, thankfully.  I only made one run down the driveway, but she made several.
This snow was also perfect for making a snowman. He won't last long, but he looks very cheerful now.  His eyes and nose are pieces of coal we found up in the woods in Tellico last spring, and his mouth is a pipe cleaner, which is appropriate because he has one of my father's pipes.

Another Snow Day

I was just out on the sun porch to feed a cat, and it looks like we got another two or three inches of snow overnight, which was what meteorologists were predicting.  I haven't been out to walk around in it yet, but Forest Avenue has a good coat of snow on it.  Our offices and Sarah's school are closed, so we will be at home today, except to the extent that we might get out into the neighborhood to play in the snow.

Three Sisters Stew

I've been enjoying different homemade soups this winter, including Senate bean soup, white bean Turkey chili, standard chili and Santa Fe soup.  The New York Times has a recipe for Three Sisters Stew that sounds good.  It has pork loin, corn, beans, green chilis, onion, garlic and squash.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Latest Conditions on Everett Hill

I'm ready to be posting pictures of daffodils and crocuses coming up, but here are some more snow pictures. Sherry's office is open, and I took these photographs as I was sweeping the snow off of her car and warming it up for her so she could drive to work.
As you can see from this picture of the roof of Sherry's car, we got three to four inches of snow here on Everett Hill in Maryville.
This view is looking east on Forest Avenue from our house toward Everett Alternative School. Sherry's car was parked pointed in the opposite direction, so she headed out that way, but traffic had worn a couple of good tracks to drive in, as you can see here.  She texted me to let me know she'd reached her office without difficulty.
Our back yard is a winter wonderland.
It is discouraging to see our driveway covered in snow again after working so hard Sunday morning to clear it off enough to get the cars to the street.  Since there was no freezing rain forecast with this system, we parked on the street last night. There would have been no way either of our cars would have gone up that hill this morning if we'd parked in back of the house like we normally do.

More Snow!

Here we go again.  We've got a couple of inches of snow already this morning, and it is supposed to continue through midday. All three county school systems are closed, and the justice center and courthouse are, too. We haven't heard from Sherry's office yet, but I suspect they'll close as well.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Von Steuben Arrives at Valley Forge

On February 23, 1778, Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben arrived at the American Continental Army winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  General George Washington appointed von Steuben Inspector General, and the German general went to work organizing the camp, training and drilling the troops, and cursing spectacularly.  He is credited with greatly improving the health and effectiveness of the Continental Army.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Slowly Thawing Out

Our cars have been stuck in the ice and snow at the bottom of our driveway since February 16, and I finally liberated them this morning.  We celebrated by going out to breakfast and to the grocery store. I love my house, but I was ready to escape it after being confined for so long.
Our driveway had from a half inch to an inch of ice covered with about a half inch of frozen snow and sleet. It took me about an hour and a half this morning to clear enough of it away to get the cars to the street.  Lacking salt, I attacked it with a garden rake, a hose and buckets of hot water.
The area where we park our cars in back of the house is still covered in ice and snow, so we'll be parking at the top of the driveway until it thaws, which may be several days with cold temperatures forecast for next week.
As you can see, we have a bunch of locust branches down in the back of the driveway, and some of it hit the Enterprise, my red Mohawk canoe.  I thought the rather large branch (five inches diameter) that landed near it might have hit it and breached the hull. On closer inspection, I'm not so sure.  I'll get a better look at it when it warms up and I can move all the branches away.
This is wild stonecrop, a wildflower, encased in ice.  This one grew from seed spread by the wind from its parent plant into an empty container of soil.  I expect it will do just fine after it thaws.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Frozen Friday and Snowy, Soggy Saturday

Sarah's school and the justice center were open on Friday, and the temperatures got up to near freezing, which is better than the single digits we were dealing with.  We didn't see much melting, though, and our cars remain frozen in at the bottom of our driveway. Fortunately, we have kind coworkers and neighbors who gave us rides to and from school and work.

This ornamental cherry tree has been a sanctuary for the birds, even though it is iced over.  We filled our bird feeders just before the storm, and enjoyed watching the birds.  While the power was out, it was our main form of entertainment.
The locust tree in our back yard lost several branches to the ice, and it has another one hanging that needs to come down.  Luckily, our cars did not get hit, but it looks like my canoe has cracks.  I hope she'll still hold water or can be repaired.
As you can see, we made a couple of attempts to get Sherry's car up the hill and out of the driveway, but neither one of us had much success.  We still have snow coming down, but the frozen precipitation is supposed to give way to rain and temperatures are supposed to be in the 40's this weekend.  Hopefully we can get the cars out this afternoon or tomorrow.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy Birthday, USPS!

On February 20, 1792, President George Washington signed the Postal Service Act, so today is the 223rd birthday of the United States Postal Service.  Although we have many different forms of electronic communication in the 21st century, I still think it is very cool that you can write an old-fashioned snail mail letter and send it across the country for less than half a dollar.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cold, Cold, Cold!

It was nice to have a warm house to sleep in last night.  Tuesday night wasn't too bad because the house still had some warmth left in it after the power went off at 1:00 a.m.  The temperature inside the house continued to creep down Tuesday, and by Wednesday morning it was about 37 degrees inside.  By the time the power came back on around noon Wednesday, I was tired of being cold.

It was down around 5 degrees outdoors last night, and it has already reached the projected high of 9 degrees. Forest Avenue is pretty clear in front of our house, but our cars are stuck at the bottom of our snow-covered driveway.  I don't think 9 degrees is going to do much to melt the ice and snow remaining.

Fortunately, we should get warm enough over the weekend to melt us out of this, but we have to get through another round of snow overnight Friday into Saturday.

Snow and Ice in February

Greetings from frigid Everett Hill in beautiful Maryville, Tennessee. Our electricity went out Tuesday at 1:00 a.m., and it was restored Wednesday around noon.  It is sure nice to have a warm house again!
These pictures were taken Tuesday morning, and we got more snow yesterday.  Can it be spring now?

The gals got cabin fever and went down the hill to visit our neighbors.  Their power was on, so the girls got to warm up, visit and charge our devices.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Jupiter and Three Moons

This image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows Jupiter and three of its large moons, Europa, Calisto and Io.  (Via NASA)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Book Review -- Following the Equator by Mark Twain

I recently read Following the Equator by Mark Twain.  It is mostly nonfiction, an account of his travels by ship, rail and otherwise to various spots on the globe, including Asia and Africa.  It was a fun and interesting book, although some of the 19th century terminology required frequent reference to a dictionary.

Jimmy Buffett has a song, "That's What Living is to Me," that borrows from the book's admonishment "Be good and you will be lonesome."  Twain's book is in the public domain and available at for your reading pleasure.

Monday, February 16, 2015

It Begins

Here are a few images from our house on Everett Hill as the ice moves in.

Be careful out there!

Presidents Day

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Sarah and I are home today for Presidents Day, but Sherry had to work.  Our weather forecast calls for freezing rain beginning around lunch time and turning to snow overnight, so it wouldn't surprise me if her office closes early today, depending on when the icing begins.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Saturday Stuff

The girls are spending a couple of hours this morning working on props for the Primary Players production of Schoolhouse Rock Live Junior, and then we're going out for a steak Valentine's Day dinner.  I started my day out early with breakfast at the new Bojangles restaurant near our house.  I discovered that they will make you a chicken sandwich, rather than a chicken biscuit, for breakfast, which I quite like.

On a full stomach, I did our weekly grocery shopping and got us a beef roast to cook at some point this weekend.  Sherry also came home this week with some leftover ziti pasta with red sauce, and I'm going to add some of my spaghetti sauce, sour cream, cream cheese and  mozzarella to make a casserole I can box up for lunches for my work week.

A Saturday stop at our new local bakery down the hill from us is becoming habit.  This morning I got us a baguette (still warm from the oven), a loaf of cheddar bacon sourdough, oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, peanut chocolate chip cookies, something called an ambrosia bar and a pastry featuring jam.  With the sweets, I'm just getting small amounts as a sampler for the three of us, so we aren't laying on too many calories.

We are expecting cold weather and perhaps some snow in the next several days, but we have been busily making plans for spring and summer.  We've booked seats on the Megabus for a spring trip to Washington, D.C., to visit my aunt and cousins and an old friend from the neighborhood I grew up in in Knoxville.  We've also reserved rooms in Blowing Rock, North Carolina for a weekend trip later in the spring, and I mailed the check to pay for the balance of our condo rental payment for our annual trip to Seagrove Beach, Florida.  I'm also expecting some of my North Carolina friends to come over to our side of the mountains for a weekend in March, so we have a lot to look forward to as winter comes to an end.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is Valentine's Day and the thirteenth anniversary of my marriage to my beautiful wife.  As Winston Churchill once said, "My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me."

Friday, February 13, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sunset on the Hill

We have a cold weekend ahead of us here in East Tennessee, but the clear winter sky is quite beautiful.  At any rate, Molly the cat likes the view from our bedroom window.

James Oglethorpe Founds Georgia

On February 12, 1733, James Oglethorpe founded the State of Georgia and the city of Savannah.  I have never researched whether there is a connection between the Ogle and Oglethorpe families, but I suspect there is one.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Winter Tennis

Although the winter weather has hampered their tennis, Sarah and her Aunt Leslie have tried to hit the court when it has been warm enough.  Here Sarah takes a breather and enjoys some Gatorade after playing on the courts near our house.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Your Friendly Neighborhood Governor

I just watched Governor Haslam deliver the Tennessee State of the State address.  I'm pretty sure I just heard him say, "With great power there comes great responsibility."

UPDATE:  I just checked, and yes, he did, in one of the last paragraphs.  Here's the text.  If you aren't familiar with the Spiderman connection, click here.

Beatles Play Ed Sullivan Show

On February 9, 1964, the Beatles made their famous appearance live on the Ed Sullivan Show.  I was about six months old.