Archive for September, 2008

Bailing Out on the Bailout

September 30, 2008

Unless you were on another planet yesterday, you know that the House of Representatives voted down the bailout plan that was supposed to save us from economic disaster.  You also know that the Dow lost 777 points yesterday.  And you know that the political recriminations started before the final vote was announced.

I’ll admit that I have mixed feelings about the bailout plan.  If the politicians and bureaucrats are right, the bailout is (was) the only way to avoid an economic catastrophe.  But aren’t these the same politicians and bureaucrats who were telling us just a few months ago that everything was fine and there was no problem?  And aren’t these the same people who passed the laws and made the regulations that allowed us to get into this mess in the first place?  Why should I believe what they are telling me now?

Perhaps something dramatic needs to be done, but I don’t really like many of the ideas that have been proposed.  Betsy and I have tried to be prudent — we saved for a sizable down payment on our house and only bought what we could afford.  If something like the the proposed bailout plan passes I think one of two things will happen to Betsy and me.  Either our taxes will go way up to pay for the bailout or inflation will go way up and eat away at the money we’ve saved for our retirement.  (Of course both of those things could happen at the same time, but I don’t want to think about that!).

Sometimes I feel that I was foolish to try my best to make prudent decisions.  Perhaps I should have just enjoyed myself and then yelled for someone to bail me out when things got bad.

I don’t know what is going to happen in the next few days as far as the economy is concerned, but things should be interesting.

A Mountain Paradise

September 29, 2008
Judy and Charlie on the deck of their mountain cabin.  April, 2006.

Judy and Charlie on the deck of their mountain cabin. April, 2006.

Betsy and I are very fortunate to have such good friends in Judy and Charlie Jones.  Betsy and Judy got to know each other while Betsy was working at the First Methodist Church in Hendersonville.  Their friendship continued after Betsy and I moved up here to the Glade, and over time Charlie and I got drawn into the friendship as well.

When Judy and Charlie got a cabin in North Carolina, they were nice enough to invite us for a weekend to share the mountains with them.

We went to the cabin with Judy and Charlie for the first time in April, 2006, but have been back several times since.  Both Betsy and I love the mountains of North Carolina, and the cabin is a beautiful place in which to enjoy them.  We enjoy sitting on the deck and just soaking up the beauty around us.

But a bonus is that the cabin is within easy distance of some beautiful waterfalls.  I think we’ve seen at least one each time we’ve been there.  Fortunately there are still many waterfalls in the area which we haven’t seen, so we’ve got some great excuses to go back!

As I said, we’re very fortunate to have such wonderful friends who are willing to share their mountain paradise.  To see more of our first visit to Judy and Charlie’s cabin click HERE.

Guess Why Betsy Likes Acorns

September 28, 2008

Would you like to have some acorns?  We have plenty!  There are so many acorns falling from the trees around the house that it is difficult to walk in some parts of the yard.  They’re falling so fast that we can’t keep up.  Yesterday afternoon I picked up two bags of acorns from our big flower bed and two hours later Betsy picked up another bag full!

I would expect that normally Betsy would be upset with so many acorns to clean up, but she has been surprisingly calm about the whole thing.  As a matter of fact, the more acorns we get. the happier Betsy gets.  What’s going on?!?

If you know Betsy at all you know how fascinated she is with weather.  She checks weather forecasts daily (sometimes several times a day).  Betsy has bemoaned our drought over the past two years and our lack of snow over the last two winters.  But what do acorns have to do with weather?

I found the answer in an article in our local paper written by a lady who uses folklore to predict weather.  According to her research into weather signs,  “a heavy mast crop (acorns, hickory nuts, chestnuts, walnuts, etc.) equaled a hard winter.”

Now I’m not sure what is meant by a hard winter, but if hard winter means lots of snow I now understand why Betsy is so happy about all those acorns!!!

Fickle Betsy

September 27, 2008
Sheer Bliss Rose, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee.  September 24, 2008.

Sheer Bliss Rose, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. September 24, 2008.

I’m saddened to have to report that I’ve discovered that Betsy is very fickle.  I was hoping against hope that I was wrong, but the truth is undeniable.

The first two years we had roses here in the Glade Betsy declared that her favorite rose was a fragrant red rose named Mister Lincoln.  Every time we got a new rose bud from Mister Lincoln she would ‘ooh-and-aah’ all over it.

But the next two years Betsy said that her favorite rose was Veterans Honor — another red rose.  Veterans Honor has bigger blossoms than Mister Lincoln, but it is not quite as fragrant.  So for two years the ‘oohing-and-aahing’ was over Veterans Honor.  Poor Mister Lincoln!

So what about this year?  Well, Betsy has a new favorite rose — Sheer Bliss (see the photo above).  Sheer Bliss is not red, but it is fragrant.  Sheer Bliss is a new rose for us this year and it gets Betsy’s ‘oohs-and-aahs’.

So you can understand why I think Betsy has been fickle.  But as long as her fickleness applies only to roses and not to men, I guess I shouldn’t complain.

Crossing Paths with John Wesley

September 26, 2008
The monument to John and Charles Wesley in Wesley Garden, St. Simons Island.  June 24, 2008.

The monument to John and Charles Wesley in Wesley Garden, St. Simons Island. June 24, 2008.

When Betsy and I were planning our anniversary trip this year, we knew about the Methodist Conference Center, Epworth By The Sea, on St. Simons Island.  Since Betsy worked for the Methodist Church for many years, we knew we wanted to stop by there.

But what we didn’t expect was to encounter John Wesley in so many places.  When we got to Fort Pulaski (on Cockspur Island, Georgia) the first historical marker we saw was to John Wesley.  The marker pointed out that John Wesley landed on Cockspur Island on February 6, 1736, and preached his first sermon in America.  A monument has also been erected on Cockspur Island to commemorate the event.

John Wesley arrived in Savannah, Georgia, on February 8, 1736.  He remained in Georgia until December 22, 1737.  During that time he served as rector to the church in Savannah, and today there is a Wesley Memorial Church in Savannah and a statue of Wesley in Reynolds Square.

During the time Wesley was in Georgia he also went to St. Simons Island and ministered to the settlers in Frederica.  During his visits to Frederica, John Wesley preached near the present Christ Church, Frederica.  There is now a Wesley Garden at the site.

To more of our encounters with John Wesley, click HERE.

The Look Of Autumn

September 25, 2008
Pansies in one of our new flower beds.  September 24, 2008.

Pansies in one of our new flower beds. September 24, 2008.

The calendar says autumn has arrived.  The daily high temperatures might not be saying autumn, but the garden centers do say autumn.  They now have pansies on sale, which is always a sign that autumn is near.

Betsy and I plant pansies in the autumn and with luck they will last through spring and provide us with color during the drabbest part of the year.

Earlier this week Betsy and I stopped at Lowe’s in Crossville and got a couple of flats of pansies.  We haven’t finished yet, but we do have two of the new beds in the front yard planted.  The picture above shows one of those beds.

We have one more bed in the front yard to do and we’ll plant pansies around the perimeter of our large rock garden.  Betsy will also plant pansies in some containers to use as hanging baskets during the winter.

We will probably need to buy some more pansies before we finished, but we’ve gotten a good start on autumn color.

Now if only those autumn temperatures would get here!

A Last Look At St. Simons

September 24, 2008
Tabby (oyster shells, lime, ash, sand and water) was used in construction during the colonial period.

Tabby (oyster shells, lime, ash, sand and water) was used in construction during the colonial period.

Betsy and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to St. Simons Island in June of this year.  The highlights of our time on the island were the Lighthouse, Epworth By The Sea, Fort Frederica, and Christ Church, Frederica.  But there were many other interesting things to see on the island.

I’ve always been fascinated by ships and the sea.  In 1961 I was in Boston and had the opportunity to tour U.S.S. Constitution, the famous Old Ironsides.  I must admit that it was awesome to be able to board that piece of history.

One of the places we visited on St. Simons was Gascoigne’s Bluff.  The bluff has been an Indian settlement before the English arrived, the site of the most beautiful plantation on the island, and the headquarters of a Spanish invasion in 1742.  But what was most interesting to me was the fact that the timbers that were used to construct Old Ironsides in 1794 came from trees growing on Gascoigne’s Bluff.  In 1874 timbers from this bluff were used in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

We also visited two slave cabins on what was once the Hamilton Plantation.

We also visited the site of the Battle of Bloody Marsh.  This was the place where the British ambushed the Spanish in 1742 and won a decisive victory which resulted in the Spanish leaving St. Simons Island and returning to St. Augustine.

To see more of St. Simons Island click HERE.

A Rose A Day

September 23, 2008
Roses on our dining room table.  September 21, 2008.

Roses on our dining room table. September 21, 2008.

I’ve been growing roses for over 25 years.  I started growing roses when I lived in North Carolina.  The only time I haven’t had roses during those years is when I lived in South Carolina and the first couple of years I lived in Tennessee.

While I was in North Carolina I was of course much younger.  And even though I was teaching full time,  I think I had more time to devote to roses.  For several years I grew test roses for Jackson & Perkins (very interesting since I never knew what roses I would get in any year) and at one point I had over 100 roses in our yard.

I don’t have nearly that many roses now and I no longer grow test roses.  But I  do have enough roses that I can continue a habit I started back in North Carolina —  I try to bring in a fresh rose bud each morning.  There are some mornings when I can’t find one to bring in, but at other times we’ll have several roses on our dining room table.

I have to admit that I try to sneak the roses in while Betsy is not looking.  Meanie that I am, I like to see how long it is before she notices them.  But I’m glad Betsy enjoys our roses as much as I do.  So  I guess I’ll just continue to bring in a rose a day.

Christ Church, Frederica

September 22, 2008
Christ Church, Frederica, St. Simons Island.  June 25, 2008.

Christ Church, Frederica, St. Simons Island. June 25, 2008.

While Betsy and I were visiting St. Simons Island in Georgia, we stopped at Christ Church, Frederica.  Christ Church is an Episcopal Church built on the site of the first Episcopal church on the island.

Actually, the history of worship on the site goes back even further.  In March, 1736, Charles Wesley held worship services for the new settlers at Frederica.  In 1737 John Wesley established a church for the people of Frederica and the other settlement on the island, Fort St. Simon.  When John Wesley left St. Simons he was replaced by George Whitefield.  All three men held services on the site of the present church.

The building of a church structure was delayed by the Revolutionary War, and it wasn’t until 1810 that the construction of a church building on the site began.  The building was completed in 1820 and used until the Civil War.

Returning at the end of the Civil War, residents of St. Simons found Union troops had destroyed much of the church.  Windows had been broken, pews smashed and burned, the roof was heavily damaged and both the altar and the organ had been destroyed.

The congregation met in homes until 1884, when Anson Green Phelps Dodge rebuilt the church as a memorial to his first wife.  It is this church which we visited.  The church building is cruciform in design, with a trussed Gothic roof.  The building contains beautiful stained glass windows depicting incidents in the life of Christ and the early history of the church on St. Simons.

To see more of our visit to Christ Church click HERE.

Bumping The Limits of Technology

September 21, 2008
My Apple iMac.

My Apple iMac.

I really do love my iMac and most Apple software.  I’ve been a Mac user for almost 20 years and I have to be dragged kicking and screaming to use a PC.

I’ve had this Mac for about six years now.  Most of the time I have no problems, but lately I’ve been having a problem with Apple’s iWeb application.

When I started writing this blog in January, 2007, I was using iWeb for the blog itself and also for my photo pages.  Things went very well until April of this year when iWeb suddenly stopped publishing my blog.  After several days of experimentation I discovered that by deleting entries from my blog archive I could resume writing and publishing.

Things went well until mid-July, when once again iWeb quit publishing my blog.  That time I moved my blog to this site, removed the blog archives from the old site, and continued to use iWeb to publish photo pages to my old site.

Earlier this week iWeb stopped publishing again.  Further investigation showed that I’ve bumped up against the limits of memory (RAM) in my computer.  Betsy and I were going to get new computers this spring, but we changed our mind.  Perhaps that wasn’t such a good idea.

I’ve ordered some more RAM memory for my computer to get me through until Tennessee’s next tax-free weekend.  When the memory arrives I’ll have to perform surgery on my computer.  I’ll keep you posted!