Scenes of Our New Scruffy City

We don’t get out much, being old po’ folks, so for us it was a treat to celebrate our anniversary with our first solo outing to Knoxville’s famous Market Square, with all it’s historic iconic sights, art, shops, and eateries.  We explored a bit, and ate at Downtown Grill and Brewery on Gay Street, home of Woodruff Brewing Co.  I couldn’t even finish my generous flight of seven craft brew samples!  We met and talked with some fantastic women working there, and at some of the import crafts shops, and learned more about our adopted home, both good and not so good.  It was nice to find some like-minded intelligent people here.  It’s sad that progressive leaders are being pushed out by the trump-rabble, but hopefully reason and progress will prevail.


Ups and Downs

On the upside, yesterday we got to spend time playing with my grandkids, who are now done with school, but the littlest one developed a severe bout of coughing, fever, chills, and fatigue.  Another worry added on to my son’s impossible caregiving workload.  They’ll be okay, but there’s never a break to catch his breath.  Even if I could be there more, I don’t think it would ever be enough help.  Even so, he’s doing an incredible job of raising them and teaching them positive values, essentially alone.  I’m constantly in awe and wonder.


Meanwhile, back at the homestead, today I planted the hollies from our friend and the anniversary dogwood from my bros.  E worked on removing nonfunctional gutters that need replacing.  Our work is never done, it seems to come with the territory.


The trees we got from our friend are now happily installed as of yesterday.  It was a hard day’s work, but we of Lowes Nation git’er done.  Then as if on cue, it started to thunderstorm and water everything in.  Perfect timing.  We look forward to watching our tree screen fill in over time.  That’s our screen speed.

Lots of little flowers are starting to bloom.

Today I harvested some young swiss chard, pak choy, and spinach to make an Indian vegetable curry, along with tikka masala/tandoori-spiced chicken, and basmati rice.  I made a peach cobbler for dessert.

Then out of the blue, a beautiful dogwood tree from brothers Robert and Bob arrived for our 4th  anniversary!  We have a place of honor right out front picked out.

Erev cheers.


Harvest P. 3

Today we had our first salad of baby mixed greens from the garden.  It doesn’t get any fresher than that.

The veggie garden is all planted and thriving, and promises to provide enough to share.

All the flowers I planted are starting to bloom, slowly but surely.

The first year of a garden in a new state is like a stab in the dark, with so many unknowns, mostly faking it.  It’s how you learn what works and what to avoid.  I’m just happy to even have some land to grow things on.  I keeps me somewhat sane.

Tree Volunteers

Thanks to a new friend we made on Love Trumps Hate:Knoxville, we are now the proud owners of many free tree saplings, which we dug up at her house.  We got: cedars, pines, tuliptree poplars, hollies, hickory, and some perennial plants, black-eyed susans and yarrow.  Soon we’ll be able to start screening our yard and making it more private and wildlife-friendly.

Speaking of varmints, we must have had some raccoon visitors last night.  Our recycle was on the porch, and they got into everything.  Another TN first.

AstroKids and Soul

Yesterday we had a great experience (another first for us) at The Muse science center with my son and the kids.  Note my youngest Gkid looking all mobster. They had a blast doing all the activities, including astronaut role-play, electricity, physics, and other tech-play.

After playing on the playground, we and friends of my son’s checked out a homey soul food restaurant, a modest family startup called “Jackie’s Dream”.  The atmosphere was very welcoming, relaxed, and kid-friendly.

Then we adjourned to their house as usual for pizza-and-a-movie.  I had fun playing with the kids while my son attempted (unsuccessfully) to take a short nap.

Windows and Views

In case you haven’t noticed by now, life is a constant process of readjusting and accommodating.  If you don’t adapt to changing reality, you give up and die inside.

Obviously, the happy scenario I had hoped to be a part of here changed drastically overnight, but our plans had been made, so here we reside for the duration, and we make the best of it.

I can either resign myself to a bleak future, or I can make the most of the opportunity and potential for alternative scenarios up ahead.  Nothing is permanently engraved in stone except death and gravestones.

Every morning I have to fight the anxiety, depression, and dread I wake up to, and just proceed.  Sometimes that’s all you can do.  Being from my background, my collective history is never far away.  Fate could have made me a concentration camp victim, or a deported refugee, but instead, I have all the basics I need, and family I love nearby for now.  I can avoid the local nazis.  You have to keep perspective.

Revelations can be as simple as the view from my own office window of fields full of songbirds, critters, wildflowers, and trees.  Trees!  (Remember, Ohio was one big flat cornfield with a few birds who had survived all the decades of toxic ‘cides.)

It can be watching the tomatoes and veggies finally coming up in our own garden, in our own yard.  Or looking forward to any time I get to be with my son and grandkids, and witness them maturing and finding room for hope in an uncertain world.  Maybe all of life really boils down to that, after all.

Here are some views out of open windows.  Note the squirrel making himself at home on the feeder.