Friday, March 24, 2023

A Mishmash or Hodgepodge

Basically, this is a mixed up continuation or narrative about our recent visit from Laurie’s sister Bonnie and Bonnie’s husband Bill.  You may think that so much shopping seems unusual for such a visit.  However, the fact is that Laurie doesn’t like to shop with yours truly as I never want to buy much and, like many men, I’m not much into ‘browsing’.  When Bonnie and Laurie are together, shopping is “in”, whether the guys tag along or not. 

On this occasion our little group started out at the J.C. Penney store in Knoxville/Farragut Tennessee’s Turkey Creek shopping center.  As you can see, the store wasn’t overloaded with customers but it was fairly well stocked in most departments.  Bill and I did do a little shopping/browsing and Bill actually bought a pair of blue jeans.  As for myself, I just couldn’t get into it…

On the other hand, with Bonnie’s help Laurie replenished part of her wardrobe buying a decent variety of tops and pants.  As a direct result of these purchases, a significant amount of ladies clothing was donated to the local charitable resale shops.

James Cash Penney was born in 1875 in Hamilton Missouri, the 7th of 12 children. The untimely death of his father made it necessary for Penney to start clerking in a store to support the family.  After moving west for his health, he opened the first J.C. Penney store in 1902 in Kemmerer Wyoming.  It is the company’s “mother store” and it’s still open for business.  The company grew to 2,053 stores in 1973 but by 2020 the company had to declare bankruptcy.  It has since been purchased by an investment group and now operates 667 stores.  James Cash Penney died at the age of 95 in 1971…still the company’s honorary chairman and still going to his office every day…

Our next stop was Bed, Bath and Beyond… This 52 year old retail operation hasn’t fared as well as J.C. Penney.  The company began the year by warning investors that it might not survive the years.  Company shares plunged almost 30% and the outlook is bleak at best.

We wandered through the store… I should have taken photos but having personally lived through a couple of retail failures in my career, taking photos was just too depressing.  From a store that was wall to wall with merchandise before Covid-19, the store was almost barren, with whole sections having little to display or sell.  

…and another one bites the dust!

From there we wandered over to World Market just to make ourselves feel better.  The ladies unsuccessfully shopped for a replacement carpet for our living area…and in the end, the four of us did what we always do when browsing through this store.  The specialty food section is just too tempting.  We bought a lot of unnecessary food and treats to take home with us!

World Market used to be called Cost Plus Stores…related to Pier One Imports…and World Market stores were purchased by Bed, Bath and Beyond in 2012.  These stores apparently escaped the fate of the parent company by being purchased by an investment firm in 2021.  The store was well stocked and busy…

Moving on to food…home cooking.

We had never had delicata squash but we’d picked up one for Laurie and me before Bonnie and Bill arrived…and then got a second one so we could have a plentiful side dish for the four of us.  The squash were split in half, the seeds removed, then sliced as shown…and placed on a baking sheet.  They were drizzled with olive oil plus salt and pepper and popped in the oven.

The delicata squash accompanied these beef flank steak pinwheels that we’d purchased at Fresh Market.  The pinwheels were stuffed or wrapped around provolone cheese and spinach…and they were very tasty indeed!  I had leftovers too…a wondrous result from too much food being served.

On another day Bill and I sat and watched in wonder as the sisters spent well over an hour trying to decide how to change the theme of our hearth and mantle…from winter to spring.  It is a bit lighter and greener than it was previously and the ladies felt good about it, so I guess that the effort expended was worth it.

Mishmash…remember the theme of this post.  I decided to just throw in a photo of one of our favorite breakfast entrees.  It was a cold morning after Bonnie and Bill had departed and it was perfect for a big bowl of oatmeal.  We don’t use the ‘instant’ version but it doesn’t take long.  When served we laden our bowls with butter, dried cranberries (or other fruit), Splenda brown sugar plus half and half milk.  Satisfying comfort food!

I had published a photo of our Quince bush during the first week of March…but now it is at or just past its full glory!  The flowering quince bush is a native of Southeast Asia.  The wonder of these deciduous spiny shrubs is that they bloom before almost everything else in the late winter or early spring.  In a recent mild winter, our bush once bloomed in January...

We love our redbud trees.  The eastern redbud is a large shrub or small tree that is native to Eastern North America, ranging from southern Michigan and south to central Mexico.  They are the state tree of Oklahoma and redbuds are everywhere around East Tennessee. 

Do you hate carpenter bees and the damage they can do to your home?  Me too, so I was somewhat disturbed to learn that redbud flowers are pollinated by long-tongued bees such as blueberry and carpenter bees.  Short-tongued bees can’t reach the nectary’s…

I’d just posted a photo of our local female Flicker…the largest member of the woodpecker family that regularly visits our bird feeding station.  Laurie just captured a good photo of her mate…handsome fellow that he is!  Northern flickers are native to most of North America, parts of Central America, Cuba and the Cayman Islands.  They are one of the few woodpeckers that actually migrate.

Flickers are the only woodpeckers that frequently feed on the ground and they also sometimes catch insects in flight.  Although they eat fruits, nuts, seeds and berries, (mostly in the winter), their primary food is insects.  Ants alone can make up 45% of their diet!  They will actually break into underground ant colonies to get at the larvae.

That’s it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Laurie and Bonnie sound like Bev and Pat when it comes to shopping. I enjoyed the JC Penny history.

  2. That female flicker looks so gorgeous! I would devour that beef steak with delicata squash, one of very few veggies that I can eat without tummy issue. I don't like to go shopping with my husband too and I am not even into window shopping. I tell him to wait outside even when I am just grocery shopping.

  3. Great mishmash for today. Shopping is for people who have a purpose in mind, which I seldom have. I am unable to window shop, except just to go through little specialty stores to see what they have.

  4. Thanks, Big Dave, for including a brief history of JC Penny which would be out of business if dependent on my shopping at one. There wasn’t one where I grew up in NJ and later when living in VA. Here, in NH, there’s one in a mall and I have only been inside this recent holiday season, leaving with no purchase.

    Most of my shopping these days is in grocery stores. Glad to read that Laurie and Bonnie were successful in clothes shopping, not a favorite of either myself or my husband. We’re planning to lose weight and shop our closets insteadđŸ˜‰