Saturday, August 25, 2012


Cindy Tries A Sampling of  Excellent Espresso Stout Ale at The Downtown Chattanooga Big River Grille and Brewing Works
The Cinderoo and I decided Thursday evening that we needed to get away for a day...where should we go?  This past year has seen us take short trips to Kentucky, Gatlinburg, Dollywood, eastern east Tennessee, Nashville, Atlanta and more.......but we had not visited the friendly burg of Chattanooga, a mere 1 hour 40 minute drive from our home in Knoxville.

So...Chattanooga, AKA "Choo Choo Town" it was!  We left Friday at 9:00, and under very clear and friendly skies we leisurely motored westward on I-75.  We meandered through downtown Chattanooga, found convenient parking near the trendy Market /Broad Street area, and embarked on our adventure.

Me, Peering Into The Allbooks Storefront Window, Disappointed in the Demise of This Once Unique Bookstore
First Stop...the Allbooks Store on Broad Street.  The last time we were there was about ten years ago and we loved it!  It is a big book warehouse, housing hundreds of thousands of volumes of every kind of publication.  We recall spending hours just browsing.

But on this occasion a decade later, we discovered that our wonderful memories have been tarnished by the reality of time and decay.  The place has become a hoarder's den of the first magnitude.  Books, magazines, newspapers, boxes, and trash now block passage in the aisles.  We were saddened to see the terrible decline of such a unique book store. 

After five minutes, we left the store and headed back up Broad Street, where we sought to slake our hunger and thirst at another old favorite place---the Big River Grille and Brewing Works.

Partial Interior Shot, Big River Grille and Brewing Works
Great!  The place was just as we remembered it!  Three large dining areas between two large bars.  Dark, wooded paneling and decor.  Ahhh....let's eat!

Grant, Our Server.  Good Guy. 
Grant, our server, appeared.  Really nice and professional guy.  He was full of helpful information.  We ordered wine as we contemplated the menu.  My Merlot was excellent.  When Grant suggested we try one of their unique brews to complement our lunch, I stated that we are not beer drinkers.

Hey Grant!  This Sampling Of Ale is so Good, You Can Bring Me a Big Mug of It!
Well, that bit of information only served to motivate him to bring us a sample of one of their creations, a dark, frothy Espresso Stout Ale.  I tried it.  I liked it.  I ordered it.  I drank it and was glad I did.  Many thanks to the Grantster for enlightening moi.

Cindy Had the Club Sandwich, Clam Chowder and Vegetables

I Had the Southwest Chicken Sandwich with Fries.  And A Glass of Merlot.  And a Mug O' Brew.  Oh Yeah, Babe...
Cindy and I played a little game as we munched lunch.  She asked me what particular interests or hobbies I thought Grant might have.  I said I thought he was into music.  She opined that he was into some sort of thespian pursuit.  When he came by our table again, we asked him.  DA-DA!!!  I win!  He sings and plays guitar.  OK, OK, so it was a lucky guess.  But I'll take it because Cindy now is impressed with my supposed powers of intuition.  Ha.

The Hunter Museum of Art on the Tennessee River
Now fortified with a glass of wine and a mug o' ale and a large southwest chicken sandwich with fries, I stumbled/waddled out of the eatery and we began the long and upward trek to the Arts District on High Street.  They call it High Street because you have to climb a damn mountain to get to it.  So there we were, nursin' a light buzz and packin' full bellies, tryin' to walk a half mile upward in the 90 degree heat so that we could see the Arts District of Chattanoogie.  Pant pant.  Complain.  Swear. 

Frontal Shot of The Hunter Art Museum
We finally made it.  We went through a couple of old art galleries.  We wandered around outside and admired the views that the High Street location gosh---there was storied Lookout Mountain above us and the mighty Tennessee River below.  And there was the fabled Hunter Museum of Art and the Chattanooga Aquarium and the beautiful panorama of the city around us.

The Tennessee Aquarium on the Tennessee River

Our View of The Tennessee River From the Walking Bridge
We walked back down to the river and crossed it on the walking bridge.  We took pictures.  We talked with other sightseers.  We learned that an annual Beerfest is being held downtown this weekend, and for $25 you can refill your glass as many times as you like.  Kinda' reminded me of New Orleans.  Probably a good place to avoid if you are driving this weekend.  I'm sure the cops'll be busy.

That's Me...Walking, Walking, Walking...

We have added Chattanooga to the list of nearby places that we love.  We'll be back.

NOTE:  Click on Cindy's Blog to view her description of our visit

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

4:00 AM At The Workout Center.......

Sometimes I awaken early.  Like 3:00 or 3:30ish.  If I am sure I can't go back to sleep, I make myself arise, brush my teeth, put on my gym shorts and head to the workout facility.

It doesn't happen often---maybe once or twice a month---but I really like getting to the gym very early before hardly anyone else.  I can just take my time as I go from station to station, methodically completing my lifts.

This morning I was at the gym at 4:20.  There were only two others already there working out.   They were female.  And they are the ones who are always there on those occasions I arrive very early. 

One of the ladies is in her late twenties, I am guessing.  She is severely thin---maybe 70 pounds or so.  My guess is that she will not live much longer because of malnutrition.  Yet, she is present at the gym for hours every early morning, laboring on one of the treadmills.  I cringe when I see her.  And I feel so very sorry for her. 

The other lady appears to be around sixty years old.  She also is briskly walking on a treadmill.  She is stooped in the back, as if she suffers from scoliosis or some such affliction.  I feel sorry for her, too, but I also admire her for her determination to be in the best physical condition possible.  After she walks on the treadmill, she visits several weight stations and lifts for a while before leaving.

For maybe thirty minutes or so, I am the only man in the place.  I've got it to myself and I like it because I can just take my time. 

Four sets each on the rowing pulleys, chest press, butterfly, shoulder press, shoulder raise, triceps, biceps, abs and leg press.  It takes me 90 minutes.  Total amount lifted:  75,680 pounds.

Along around  5:15, the place starts to fill up.  Most of the newcomers head for the treadmills.  Some of the men arrivals go to the free weights or machines. 

The last thing I always do before I depart for home is wash my hands.  On my way out the door, the anorexic lady continues her march on the treadmill.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dear Diary.......A Sampling From August 6

I mentioned yesterday that I have been keeping a daily diary, in which I outline events of the day and voice my personal feelings/opinions on same.

Thought maybe you'd enjoy reading a sample entry---this from August 6.  It's pretty typical.  But I must say I could not allow anyone to read my diary until after I've departed this life because I really don't pull any punches when writing my thoughts about people in my life---family, neighbors, friends, acquaintances...did I mention family?

August 6   Monday

Cindy walked early in the 'hood, then worked out at the gym in the early afternoon.  I could never get my body talked into lifting.  Sometimes that happens and I just go with the flow.  Gotta try to do four days of lifting every week, however.  Hopefully tomorrow.

Cindy and I went to Lowe's and got two new toilet seats and a new shower head with a 5' hose for the master bath.  Got it all installed.  Praise the Lord!  The toilets were really filthy down where the old nuts and bolts were located.  They had obviously never been deep cleaned.

Tru-Green showed up and I asked about a new growth of weeds that is sprouting up.  He said the treatment will kill them but that the weeds are coming up because of the additional rain we've been getting.  Got some more rain today.  I ain't complainin'.

Cindy went to Food City after her gym workout.  I stayed home and did the dishes and made the bed.  When she got home from Food City, I was entertained with tales that can only happen to Cindy....

First, as she walked toward the Food City building, a rumbling pickup truck slowly approached her from behind.  She glanced at a grungy looking runt of a redneck (we got lots of 'em here in east Tennessee) who was driving.  He yelled at her as he came alongside..."I wouldn't ha' known ya, sweetheart!"

She said she thought he must be someone she had met previously, but as she looked at the creep, she knew she had never seen him before.  She high-tailed it into the building and did not see Mr Wrong again.

Then, when the little lady came out of the supermarket with her food purchase, she wheeled the cart with her bags of purchases to the car to unload it, when a wildly grinning teenage employee of Food City came running at her while pushing an empty cart.  The idiot ran right into her cart to hook the two carts together so he could take them back inside the store.  There were at least two problems with this....

First, my wife still had four bags of groceries in her cart.  And second, this lunatic just missed hitting her and injuring her.  If I had been there this guy would now be on life support.

Anyway, I knew nothing of this until well after she had returned home, because when she arrived home I was nekkid in the shower giving it a deep cleaning.  While I was scrubbing the shower floor with baking soda and a stiff brush, she was in the other room calling Food City management complaining about the incident.  She said she was put on hold for a long time, and when she did talk with the "manager", she told him what had happened and said that they should investigate how this kid is endangering folks.  She said the manager seemed quite unconcerned at hearing her story.  No apology.  No expression of thanks for reporting the incident.  Cindy finally said in exasperation, "I think he may be mentally ill!".

The manager's response?..... "He is". 

Hey, no kiddin'---I can't make this stuff up.

I have long maintained that Food City is the worst managed supermarket I have ever visited.  Something negative happens every time I go there, which, thank God, is not very often any more, especially since there is a nice, well managed Ingles and Wal-Mart and Kroger right down the road.

Chick-Fil-A sandwich with homemade fries for din-din.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Catchin' Up.......

It's been a proverbial long, hot summer.  I guess in my old age I'm starting to enjoy the dog days less and less.  My favorite season, however---fall---is almost upon us; and then winter and spring, both of which I enjoy much more than summer.  So I have all of that to look forward to.....and that's a good thing.

Some months back I re-started my daily diary.  Each day I write down all of any significance that occurred that day, along with my personal feelings about the events.  I suppose this endeavor has crowded out my blogging, and I miss doing my posts.  In a way, a daily diary and a daily blog posting are related, at least in as much as they parallel my thoughts and interests on a daily basis.

But a blog and a diary are not the same.  And something is missing if I do without one or the other.  So I will try to do my best to resume my postings as often as I can work them in.  Plus, let's face it:  it's also hard to not see the posts of my friends regularly.

There has been a lot that has happened the last few months.  Of course, there is not enough space to relate all of it here, but of interest are these:

---a few weeks back, an ambulance pulled up to the house across the street from us.  Funny, you know, how ambulance personnel move so slowly.  You ever notice that?  I mean, they come screaming up to their assigned target location, siren blaring, and then when the vehicle is stopped, they move like zombies.

Of course, we heard the commotion and looked outside to see this drama unfolding.  The zombies slowly and laboriously exited the front of the ambulance...slowly moved to the rear of the vehicle, slowly opened the rear doors, slowly removed the special transport....all this happening while the lady of the house, who was in a panic, tried to implore them to "HURRY---she's not moving!!!"

Of course, her urging them onward did not speed them up one iota.  By and by, the tortoises disguised as paramedics made their way into the home, where they stayed for about 40 minutes.  When they came out, the patient---a daughter of the lady of the house---was on the transport and was being given CPR as they wheeled her to the ambulance.  When the patient had been loaded into the vehicle, the ambulance remained there for a good 20 minutes before it departed, sirens ablaze.

The next day we heard that the patient---a 49 year old lady---had died.  Cause:  asthma.

Of course, this devastated the mom and dad.  They have been trying to deal with the sudden death of a beloved daughter.  We don't know these folks well at all, but we have done what we could for them. 

Life is short and today could be our last.

---I developed a sore spot on my lower lip.  Once or twice a year I get a fever blister around my mouth, and these clear up in a few days.  But this thing was not like a fever blister---it just got red and itched a little.  And it didn't go away.  It stayed for weeks.  It wasn't really very noticeable, but it began to bother me that it was not healing.  So, I did some on-line research, and determined that I had oral cancer.

I called the doc and got an appointment for that very afternoon.  When he entered the treatment room, I told him why I was there and he looked very closely at the affected area.  He said, "Well, it might be cancer.  We'll have to do a biopsy."

I asked him what his opinion was.  "Well, I don't think it's life-threatening." 

Gee, I thought---he sure is treating this pretty lightly. 

Then, he started talking about a song he had written.  He handed me a small, hand-held recorder and turned it on so I could hear his recording of him singing a song accompained by his guitar.  Can you believe this?

It was all I could do to keep from yelling "HEY YOU STUPID ASS!!!---I'M A STEP AWAY FROM DYING AND YOU WANT ME TO LISTEN TO THIS S***?!!?

I gently returned to the topic at hand---namely, that I might have cancer of the lip.  He pretty much brushed me off, saying, "Well, they'll do a biopsy and then if it is cancer they'll do whatever they do."

I swear you can't make this stuff up.

Anyway, then he said he didn't know whether to send me to the oral surgeon or the dermatologist for the biopsy because he said the lesion was right on the outside edge of my lower lip.  He finally decided on the dermatologist.  Fine.

The next day, the derm's office called and told me the nearest opening they had was September 5.  Sheeez.  I told Cindy I was gonna die before I could see a doc.

So.....after having this thing on my lip for weeks, and with an appointment for a biopsy weeks away, I awoke the next morning and looked in the mirror and could see that it had shrunk a little bit.  And the same thing happened the next day and the next day and the day after that.....until now----it has disappeared. 

Don't tell me the good Lord ain't got a sense of humor.  I guess whatever it was wasn't cancer, but it wasn't a fever blister, either.  I don't know what it was, but I am ecstatic it is gone.  I think I'll wait a couple weeks before I cancel my appointment.

---I'm losing my mind.  I was talking with my mom about visiting her, and we were discussing the best date for the visit.  I started looking for my cell phone, because it has a calendar function that I use.   I looked everywhere.  It was not to be found.  I asked Cindy to help me find it, as mom was waiting for me to tell her what days would be best. 

Cindy calmly said "You're TALKING on your cell phone."  Besides a dermatologist, maybe I also need a psychiatrist.