Saturday, April 29, 2017

Steve in the Sky

Canadian aurora spotters in Alberta recently photographed this unusual aurora, which they thoughtfully named Steve. I noted here five years ago that the internet does not like Steve. (E.g. Scumbag Steve) It is nice to see my given name get some positive press for a change. (More from USA Today)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Somewhere by the Sea

I'm not sure where this is, but I want to go there. (Via Phils Phun)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Throwback Thursday

Sherry had this picture enlarged to poster size, and it still hangs in our living room. This throwback Thursday picture is from the Sandestin resort in Destin, Florida, from nine years ago.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Restaurant Review -- Another Broken Egg, Delray Beach, Florida

It has been many years since we ate at the Another Broken Egg restaurant in Destin, Florida. We loved the place, but when we are on our summer vacation down there we like to cook at the condo for the most part. On the morning we left Les and Mark in Delray Beach; however, we stopped in at the Another Broken Egg restaurant at 430 East Linton Drive, which is just down the street from their condo. It was a delightful breakfast.

I had the lobster and brie omelet, which was decadent, and Sarah had a sinister stack of pancakes. Sherry had a Cuban breakfast sandwich that she let me taste, and it was also very tasty. The service was prompt and friendly. It is pricey, but worth it.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Henry VIII Becomes King

On April 21, 1509, Henry VII died, making his seventeen-year-old son king of England. Henry VIII is probably most famous for killing off wives who failed to produce him a male heir and for splitting England from the Catholic church over a spat with the pope caused by Henry's demand for an annulment of his first marriage for the same reason.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Throwback Thursday

For throwback Thursday, here is a picture of Jake showing Sarah a fish while Joey fishes in the background at Melton Hill Lake. This is from ten years ago.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Jupiter Getting Mooned

This picture of Jupiter also shows two of its moons. Ganymede is in the upper left corner of the picture casting its shadow on the planet, and Io is on the left side of the picture. (Via Astronomy Picture of the Day)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Eighteenth of April

"Listen my children, and you shall hear/of the midnight ride of Paul Revere/on the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five/hardly a man is now alive that remembers that famous day and year." Thus begins the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow commemorating Revere's famous ride into the Massachusetts countryside to warn the area militiamen that British regulars were on the March from Boston in order to capture an arms depot. My Aunt Jane, Granddaddy Ogle's younger sister, was a librarian and taught me to love the poem. I have the copy she gave me years ago as a keepsake.

If you'd like to read the whole thing, I've posted it here.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Restaurant Review -- El Mason de Pepe, Key West, Florida

Another restaurant we enjoyed in Key West was El Meson de Pepe, which is at 410 Wall Street off of Mallory Square. It is a Cuban restaurant, and it has a cool miniature museum about Cubans in Key West inside. We have grown fond of the delightful food at Maryville's Aroma Cafe, which is our local Cuban restaurant, so we thought we'd try some Cuban food from a little closer to the source.
The restaurant is housed in this building, known as Casa Cayo Hueso. Cayo Hueso is the Spanish name for Key West, and it means bone island because of Native American remains Spaniards discovered there when they first found the island.
We ordered the Completa de Caballo Grande, which is a sampler platter that includes Lechon Asado, Ropa Vieja and Picadillo. The Lechon Asado is a Cuban pulled pork dish seasoned with what the menu called a cumin-mojo sauce (Mojo, Baby!), and Picadillo is ground beef seasoned with onion, garlic, olives, cumin, capers, bay and oregano. Ropa Vieja means "old clothes" and is shredded skirt steak. It was all very good, and Sherry and I got full sharing the platter while Sarah just had some pulled pork and rice. Our meal was about $62.00 including tax and tip.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday

Today is Easter Sunday, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, depicted above. The Christian holiday has become associated with various other folkways celebrating the rebirth of spring, like Easter eggs and bunnies.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Early Easter Feast

The celebration of Easter in my family has always required a midday feast, usually conducted on Easter Sunday. This year, we are having ours today at our house, and I put a turkey in the oven at 6:00 a.m. It is a 22 pound bird, and my cookbook says that will take about 7 hours, so I'm hoping it can come out of the oven at 1:00 p.m. and be served at 2:00 p.m., which is what we are shooting for. Mom bought a Honey Baked ham and a gluten-free carrot cake from Lambert's Pie Shop. Les is making her craisin and feta salad and cheese peas, and Laura is bringing some potato salad.

Yesterday I filled up a bunch of plastic Easter eggs with coins and candy, and I'm going to distributed them into our yard at dawn for Sarah and Grace to have an Easter egg hunt this afternoon. I also boiled some eggs and have die for the kids to color Easter eggs, though the eggs will quickly be broken open for deviled eggs.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, the day on which Christians commemorate the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Throwback Thursday

We're going old school for today's throwback Thursday with Sherry, Joey and Jake from ten years ago, when the boys were around eleven.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

More Key West Snapshots

This is another posting of random snapshots from our spring break in lovely Key West, Florida. Sherry and Sarah really enjoyed the hotel pool with its fancy fountains.
This isn't Key West at all. It is a scene from Havana from the wall of our hotel room. With Havana only 89 miles south of Key West, it is not surprising the two islands share a history.
File this under "Things You Don't See in Tennessee." This iguana calmly walked across the pool deck and climbed into a bush near our chairs and started eating leaves. There was another, smaller iguana in his wake.
This statue welcomes visitors to the Custom House museum, which has exhibits on Hemingway, the construction of the railroad to Key West, the U.S.S. Maine. It also has some interesting local artwork.
This flower bed is in the shape of a Confederate ironclad ship. It is on the grounds of the Hemingway home, and was built by the original owner Asa Tift in 1862. The Tift brothers designed ironclad ships for the Confederacy.
This is Captain Tony's saloon, which exists in the building that held the establishment owned by "Sloppy" Joe Russell when Hemingway frequented it. I met Captain Tony when he was running for mayor of Key West, a campaign he won, and I still have the campaign poster he signed from my Mom and my stepfather Ron.
The flag of the State of Florida flies proudly on Mallory Square.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Calabash Nebula

This is the Calabash Nebula, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. It gets its name from the Calabash gourd, which has a similar shape. It is also called the Rotten Egg Nebula. (Via Astronomy Picture of the Day)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mother's birthday. Happy birthday, Mom!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring Weekend

As you can see, it is starting to look like spring in East Tennessee, despite a bit of a cold snap overnight this weekend. Sherry drove to Clarksville after work yesterday to see Joey, who is working a barbecue fundraiser for his fraternity up at Austin Peay State University. She plans to drive back down to Nashville today to spend some time with Jake and Grams.
I had originally planned to go to the Camp this weekend, but my fellow cabineers bailed on me, so I decided to put it off until a warmer weekend. That leaves Sarah and I at home for the weekend, and my two major projects are to cook up some lasagna for Administrative Professionals Day, which is coming up soon, and to do our laundry.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Key West Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters

The Hemingway home is right across the street from the Key West Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters, pictured here. Blue Heaven cafe is in the same neighborhood, so we visited all three places our first morning in Key West.
Sarah climbed up into this lofty fig, or false banyan tree on the lighthouse grounds. A docent we talked to said that the tree's branches will grow back down to the ground over the years and take root in the soil. Cool tree.
I took these pictures, as well as a panoramic picture, from the lighthouse's observation area, which gives you a 365 degree view of Key West. It is 88 steps to the top of the lighthouse.

The Key West lighthouse was built in 1848.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Throwback Thursday

Today's throwback Thursday picture takes us back to 2012 at John Sevier Elementary School for their spring festival. Sarah won a cake walk.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Restaurant Review -- Blue Heaven, Key West, Florida

I didn't get to do as much research about this trip as I would prefer, as we finalized plans rather late. I found several restaurants I wanted to try, and Blue Heaven was at the top of my list even before we realized that it is the subject of the Jimmy Buffett song "Blue Heaven Rendezvous." We realized it as we were listening to Buffett music on the drive down the Overseas Highway. As you can see, some of Key West's many chickens hang out there.
I expected to find cats in other places around Key West than the Hemingway home, but the only other kitties we saw during our four days on the island were at Blue Heaven.
I had pretty much decided before I left Tennessee that I would have the shrimp and grits at Blue Heaven for breakfast. They use local Key West pink shrimp, and for me it was the perfect breakfast to start our first full day there. They serve it with home made banana bread. Like everything on the island, it was pricey, and breakfast set us back around $50.00. Blue Heaven is at 729 Thomas Street, and we found free parking on the street nearby.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Call at the Hemingway Home

Our first sightseeing stop in Key West was the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. I went for the history, the girls went to visit the famed six-toed cats.
Hemingway caught this marlin, much of which was eaten by sharks before he could land it. It inspired "The Old Man and the Sea."
Hemingway did his writing in Key West in the upper room of the property's carriage house. This is a picture of that room, which you can only look into.
This is a view of the carriage house from the back corner of the property. Hemingway's second wife, Pauline, had the pool built as Hemingway was off in Europe with wife number three. Legend has it that when he learned of the expense of the pool, he took out a penny and threw it on the freshly poured concrete of the pool deck. He told his wife that since she'd spent everything else he had, she could have the last penny as well. She pushed it into the wet cement, and it is still there, though covered with plexiglass.

Hemingway was injured as a war correspondent in World War I, the Key West Art and Historical Society has his bloody uniform on display in their Custom House museum.
And finally, here's Sarah with one of the polydactyl cats that inhabit the grounds at the Hemingway home. They are all descendants of a cat named Snow White that was given to the Hemingway family by a sailing captain Ernest knew.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Some More Key West Photos

These are some more pictures we took when we were out and about in Key West. The island is only four miles by two miles long, and we road a shuttle bus that ran from our hotel to Mallory Square for most of our trips across the island. For the most part, it is very walkable.
We saw a couple of these curly tailed lizards down there.

This is the hotel swimming pool from the fifth floor. The girls beat me into the pool.