Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Birthday Grams!

Sherry's mom was a leap year baby, born on February 29, so she only gets to celebrate her real birthday every four years, opting to celebrate on the 28th on the other years. Happy birthday, Grams!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Buffalo Bill's Birthday

Buffalo Bill Cody was born on February 26, 1846. He got his nickname for supplying buffalo meat to railroad workers, and became famous with his Wild West Show

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday

For today's Throwback Thursday picture, here's Sherry and Sarah at the Little Ponderosa Zoo up in Anderson County.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Alaskan Ice Pillars

This photograph shows ice pillars near Fort Wainwright, Alaska. They are created by ice crystals in the air reflecting the sun's light.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Table Rock

Once in the 1980's Mom, my stepdad Ron, my friend Tracey and I adventured out in Ron's white Cadillac in search of Table Rock, pictured above. We spent hours on the road trying to get to it without reference to a map, and the refrain of the trip was "It looks like we're getting closer, but it still doesn't look like you can get there from here."

At one point we were on gravel back roads getting low on gas and we saw an access to the highway, but found it was gated when we got there, much to our dismay. We finally got back on the highway another way, got gas and finally made it to Linville Gorge and Table Rock.

I recently learned that Fraser's Sedge, a  wildflower, was discovered near Table Rock. I find that interesting because I have seen Fraser's Sedge in the Hangover Lead area of the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, which is also in western North Carolina.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Washington's Birthday

George Washington, first President of the United States of America under our present Constitution and father of his country, was born in Virginia on February 22, 1732.

U.S. Acquires Florida

On February 22, 1819, Spain ceded Florida to the United States under the terms of the Adams-Onis Treaty.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Always Have a Project

Grandmother Ogle said, "Always have a project!" My sister Leslie reminded me that Grandmother also used to say, "Push work so that work doesn't push you." In that spirit, Sherry and I made an extensive list of household projects just after the New Year. This weekend we are painting our fireplace in anticipation of having our chimney repaired. It will be nice to have that piece of work done.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Book Review -- The Plague by Albert Camus

In the fall I finished reading The Plague (or La Peste in French) by Albert Camus as part of an ongoing effort to read some relatively well-known books that I've never read. My sister Leslie gave me a paperback copy of it, probably when we were in college, and it has been in my library ever since, so a few months ago I started working on it a bit here and a bit there. It is thought of as an existentialist work, which made it rather dry and gloomy for my taste, but then, what else should I expect from a novel about a deadly plague?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday

For today's Throwback Thursday picture I give you Sherry and me from ten years ago.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Myles Standish

On February 17, 1621, the settlers of Plymouth Colony elected Myles Standish commander of the colony. He was reelected to that position until his death in 1656.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Restaurant Review -- The French Market Creperie and Cafe, Farragut, Tennessee

I recently had lunch at the The French Market Creperie and Cafe at 161 Brooklawn Street, Farragut, Tennessee. We tried to eat at the one on South Gay Street in Knoxville a couple of weeks before that, but the seating was too limited for the crowd so we passed that morning in favor of pizza for breakfast at the Tomato Head. I'm glad I gave the creperie a second chance, though, because it was very good. I ordered the Parisian Style Ham and Cheese crepe from the savory portion of the menu, and it was served promptly and was good and hot when the server brought it to my table. The interior is decorated with French memorabilia, and the menu has a lot of variety, including baguette and croissant sandwiches. I just ordered the crepe and water, so with a tip I spent around $10.00.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Presidents Day!

Today Americans celebrate Presidents Day, a holiday originally set aside only for George Washington on his birthday, which is actually February 22, but it came to be a celebration also of Abraham Lincoln's birthday and of American Presidents generally. We commemorate the holiday with a long weekend, giving us an extra day of freedom.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentines Day!

Today is Valentines Day and the fourteenth anniversary of my marriage to my lovely wife, pictured below with some pirate in California. Happy anniversary, sweetie!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Winter Weekend

We had some decent snowfall yesterday morning, and there's still a bit of snow on the ground, although the streets are clear. Meteorologists predict more winter weather moving in Sunday evening through Monday, so we're bracing for another batch before it warms up again. I'm ready for spring.

Sherry and Sarah just left to go out to lunch with our neighbors. I have a pot of spaghetti sauce on the stove I need to mind, and I'm still pretty full from breakfast. I plan to make lasagna, and we'll have enough spaghetti sauce left after that to enjoy over spaghetti squash. I tried the girls out on spaghetti squash the last time I made sauce, and they both really liked it, somewhat to my surprise (especially Sarah, who tends to be a picky eater). Tomorrow I plan to cook some Senate bean soup for Mom in our pressure cooker with the hock from the Honey Baked ham she bought for Christmas. I have two of them in the freezer downstairs, and will make a batch of soup for myself eventually.

Friday, February 12, 2016

President Lincoln's Birthday

On February 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky. According to the White House website, Lincoln described the circumstances of his birth and rearing as follows:

"I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families--second families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks.... My father ... removed from Kentucky to ... Indiana, in my eighth year.... It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up.... Of course when I came of age I did not know much. Still somehow, I could read, write, and cipher ... but that was all."

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Throwback Thursday

Here is a picture of Sarah from around kindergarten age for today's Throwback Thursday photo. The walls of her room are still purple, but she and her mother are in the process of updating it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, a season of fasting and prayer leading up to Easter.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Estill Springs Declared Boring

Our local CBS affiliate has an article on its website that lists what someone considers Tennessee's ten most boring places.  It lists our beloved Estill Springs, home to our grandparents' cabin, as the sixth most boring place in the state. My first response was righteous indignation. How dare they besmirch such a wonderful little town! I've certainly had fun every time I've visited, and I've been going there since I was a toddler.

Upon further reflection, maybe it is not such a bad idea that people who don't know some of our state's smaller communities think that they are boring. It wasn't too long ago that you had to walk up to the highway to get cell phone signal at the Camp, something I delighted in until they erected a new tower nearby, and we've only had access to pizza delivery for maybe three or four years. I value that relative isolation as a respite.

If you're looking for nightlife outside of bonfires and lightning bugs, Estill Springs probably isn't for you. Country life and city life are quite different, and while I've lived in mostly suburban settings, I cherish the slower pace and quietude of the woods, and especially our creek, pictured above. Boring? Not if you know what to appreciate.

Beatlemania Begins

On February 9, 1964, the Beatles made their first appearance on American television on the Ed Sullivan Show. An estimated 73 million viewers watched the performance, which helped kick of Beatlemania in the United States.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Stunning Image of Saturn

This stunning picture of Saturn, captured by the Cassini spacecraft, was posted recently on Slate.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Little Mermaid Pics

Sherry and Sarah are back at the Clayton Center for Sarah's final performance in The Little Mermaid, Jr., after a very busy week full of rehearsals and preparations. By all accounts the show has had a good run, and the matinee performance we attended yesterday was well-attended. This is the most prominent role Sarah has had since she joined Primary Players. She played Arista, one of Arial's mermaid sisters, and was thrilled to be surrounded by three and four-year-olds who wanted to pose with her. Her family pried her away from her public adulation for a few shots with family members, including Mom.
Sarah poses with her cousin Grace.
Here's a couple more photographs from the lobby of the Clayton Center, with Leslie above, and Laura below.
We've had a busy weekend to end what for the girls has been a very busy week. Jake spent the week with us, helping out back stage and eventually operating one of the spotlights. Joey and Grams arrived Friday night, and Papa John and Grand Jan, Sherry's dad and stepmom, who traveled from Murfressboro, joined us for the Saturday matinee. Joey had to be back in Clarksville, where he attends Austin Peay State University, by 1:00 p.m., so he, Jake and Grams headed out around 9:00 a..m.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Treaty of Alliance with France

On February 6, 1778, in the midst of the American Revolutionary Way, the Kingdom of France and the United States republic entered into a Treaty of Alliance, bringing a mighty new ally into the war against England. At the same time the parties entered into a Treaty of Amity and Commerce. Both documents were signed in Paris.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Mount Whitney

This is Mount Whitney, which is the tallest mountain in the 48 contiguous states at 14,496 feet above sea level. It is part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in central California. (Via Earth Science Picture of the Day)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday

Today's Throwback Thursday picture is of Mom and Ron, my stepfather, at Mom's house on 4th Street Court NE in Hickory, North Carolina, in the Eighties, which you could probably tell from Mom's hairdo.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Day the Music Died

On February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly, Rtichie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were killed in a plane crash in Iowa. We know that day as the Day the Music Died.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Happy Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day, the day otherwise rational Americans indulge in the superstition that a groundhog can predict the end of winter according to whether or not he sees and is frightened by his shadow when he emerges from his burrow. If he does, it is supposed to herald an additional six weeks of winter.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Blue Pontiac Executive

When my sisters and I were kids Grandmother Ogle drove a blue Pontiac Executive like the one pictured above, and when Grandmother and Granddaddy came to visit us that was the car they drove. Granddaddy, a wholesale grocer, traveled to see his customers in and around Franklin County in a Ford Fairlane, which evokes memories of fishing trips in my mind. The blue Executive brings to mind road trips to Florida and to various places up north like Boston, Philadelphia, Gettysburg, New York City, Niagara Falls, Toronto and Gloucester, Massachusetts. We loved to see that car pull in the driveway with our grandparents and all the wonderful goodies they inevitably unloaded, almost always in including a pecan pie or two and usually coconut cake or apricot nectar cake to boot. If they came for Christmas, that car was like Santa's sleigh.

If I had $10,000.00 to throw around I'd buy one.