Sunday, December 04, 2016

Leaves, Leaves, and More Leaves

Picture of Leaves

First part of December is always a fun time of year. Fall is in full swing with college football wrapping up the regular season. College basketball has been going a few weeks and getting closer to league play. Finally, at this point in the season, those of us with large trees in our yards have already picked up leaves a few times. The way trees look, I will have a few more times to pick up leaves before the end of the year.

The worst part about leaves is that some how they manage to make their way into our house. When we let our dog out or simply coming back from the store, leaves are in our kitchen and family room. They cling to the bottom of our shoes or simply blow in the back door as we go out or into the house.

The act of cleaning them up is not so bad. The large trees though means we get to do this a lot of times throughout the season. One tree in our front yard, a gum ball maple, keeps the leaves until about January or February. Or, if we have a large snow fall, then it will drop all of the leaves on top of the freshly laid snow. That always looks really nice!

This year, I am trying to do much more mulching than years past. Yesterday, I did the front and back for leaves and only ended up with three bags. The rest was mulched into the yard. The majority of the yard cannot tell that leaves were picked up, but some of the heavier areas because the leaves were mulched, I could not pick up the leaves in those spots. Still, I think it will be good for the yard in the long run. Plus, I know I will have a few more times to pick up leaves before the season is over.

Picture of Carrie in the leavesThe best part of leaves is being able to play in them. The picture to the right was taken a few years ago as we were leaving for a Washburn home football game. Carrie used some leaves I had not gotten to that seem to collect in the middle of our driveway to get that perfect picture.

Our dog on the other hand, he is not a fan of the leaves. If there is a pile in the back yard, he will walk around it to go to or from the back door. He seems to be happiest following the back yard being cleaned up. He is so pampered!

Hard to believe Christmas will be here in a few short weeks. I hope I am done picking up leaves by then.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Picture

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is a time to be with family and friends. It is a time to give thanks and remember those we love. It is also a time of fantastic foods. Turkey, dressing, green beans, and pies. Oh then there are the liquid drinks that go along with the day. It is a good day for wine, maybe a glass or two of scotch. It is a wonderful day of relaxation, watching football, and enjoying family and friends.

May each and every one of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be sure to reach out to those you love or those that do not have a lot of family to give them thanks too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Catching up from August Post and New Stuff

Hard to believe how fast the end of 2016 is going. It is only November, but it is almost Thanksgiving and Christmas is right around the corner. Before long it will be 2017. Let me see if I can summarize what has happened since my last post in August.

August

The end of August started my goal to get a masters. I enrolled in my first masters class in August. It was a eight week completely on-line course. With only one course completed in the Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership, I do not take my next course until the second eight weeks of the spring semester. The program is completely on-line and all courses are eight weeks. It is possible to do two classes a semester meaning it can be finished in a short amount of time. I am taking the classes for free by working for Washburn, so I am on the extended plan. It will take me longer to finish, but I am not in a huge hurry to finish it up. I have been looking at obtaining a masters for a few years now. This program was just announced and started being offered fall 2016. I am excited to be taking classes again!

September

Bridge in Madison CountySeptember had me about halfway through the master class. It was also the 14 anniversary for Carrie and I, so we made a trip to Des Monies, Iowa. We had a great time in Des Monies. It was our first time to visit Des Monies and first time in Iowa. We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast where we had a wonderful time.

Not only did we enjoy so many different Iowa beers, but we also enjoyed some excellent Iowa wines. We bought a case of different wines and brought those home. They have some very good wine selections from local wineries. We were impressed!

We ate at a different places and like we do most of the time when we travel, we eat at places we cannot eat at when we are at home. Carrie found a place for us to eat called Strudl Haus. It was an Austrian dining experience and we both loved our dishes. We each got a plate to ourselves and then one extra to share between the two of us. Glad we did as it was a great experience.

Our Room at Butler House in Des Monies, IowaFollowing eating at Strudl Haus, we went to our B and B which was called Butler House. The picture to the right is our room. It was my first experience staying at a B and B. I loved it! Breakfast each morning and then free to go on the town. As I mentioned earlier, I did not plan well during this trip, so I spent most afternoons working on my homework so I could post it by Saturday evening.

We could not have asked for better weather while we were in Iowa either. It rained overnight and then was beautiful during each of the three days that we were there.

A few of the other places we ate (or drank) and would highly recommend included El Bait Shop, La Mie Bakery & Restaurant, Summerset Winery, and Iowa TapRoom (was awesome!).

We want to go back and visit again we had so much fun in Iowa. Beautiful country and it was a really easy drive from Topeka to Des Monies. Highly recommend a visit to Des Monies, Iowa.

October

Javier and I at the King Biscuit Blues Festival 2016I attended another King Biscuit Blues Festival which celebrated the 31 year of the festival. Javier and I were able to attend this year and Carrie stayed home for this one. We had one of the smoothest festivals I have attended. I have told others that the first day (Thursday), I did not have to carry anything at all. I think on Friday, I carried maybe a single amp. It was smooth and not a lot to do other than catchup with so many friends that attend the festival.

After returning from the King Biscuit Blues Festival, I had to finish a paper that was due the Saturday night while I was gone. Having an extension, I was able to finish it up the following week. I had it turned in by Wednesday evening following returning from Arkansas. We then had our final presentations to give for the class on October 13. August - October proved to be rather intense with classes and work, but I made it through. We already have our grades from the master classes, so I know that I already earned an A for the first class. I am ready to enroll in the second class which I will do here in the next few weeks.

Group Picture at Homecoming After Hours 2016October was also Washburn Homecoming. Javier visited Topeka and stayed at our house. We had his new dog with him. We had a great time! It was fun to go to After Hours and have everyone attend. We took the picture to the left with all of our friends. Thanks to Danny for snapping the picture!

Washburn won the homecoming day game and once again we had beautiful weather. Carrie and others made so much wonderful food, everyone had a great time at the game.

November

Picture of Greg, John, Erin, and Carrie at Drew and Libby's weddingWe are early into November, but not far away from Thanksgiving. We attended a wedding for Drew and Libby in Kansas City the first weekend of the month. Beautiful wedding where we stayed the night in Kansas City. Greg was an usher in the wedding which is why he was wearing a tux. Me, I had just purchased my new suit for the wedding and just to have that week.

This past weekend, we attended the last home football game for Washburn. We played Emporia State for the last home football game and we never showed up. It was not pretty!

Conclusion

I believe I have caught you up to what has happened the past few months. It has been a fun filled past few months. Intense at times for homework, work, and life, but things have been good. I am looking forward to a great ending to 2016. This year has flown by and I want to make the most of what is left of it before we move to 2017. 

Until next time, have a great November and I will talk to you again soon!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pig Skin Pick 'em Ready for 2016-2017 Season... Enter Today!

Pig Skin Pick 'em Time for 2016 - 2017

The NFL season starts on September 8. Once again this year, the ESPN Pig Skin Pick 'em will be running week after week during the regular NFL season. Create your entry now to be ready to enter your picks. Then do not forget to enter your picks each week throughout the season.

The password for the league is haverty and the name of the league is Maybe This Season. Feel free to share with others as the more people we have in the pick 'em the more fun it is for everyone. Each person can enter up to two entries.

It is free to play the Pig Skin Pick 'em and you might win prizes from ESPN for playing. Enjoy the season!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Our Summer Vacation in Texas from July 2016

Crystal Beach in Galveston, Texas

Carrie and I have been so busy the past month and half. We went on vacation the first part of July and leading up to those vacation days and after, it seems like we have been non-stop on the go. Things are good, but just really busy. At work and at home. Seems like there is always something happening. It is good, but also nice to just have a relaxing weekend every now and again. Finally, today, I have such a day where can just relax and not do anything.

Oliver Riding in the Car to Texas
Our trip to Texas for vacation was a lot of fun. We decided to drive this time instead of flying. This would allow us to take our dog, Oliver, on the trip with us. He is a great travel pet. He sleeps the whole time and enjoys riding in the car. He wakes up every now and again to look at the window, see if we are still in the car, or just to enjoy the ride. Our trip started out from Topeka as went drove to Dallas to visit Javier.

Birthday Celebration with JavierWe were able to celebrate Javiers' birthday with him. Took him out to a nice place to eat. We also enjoyed a few beers with him too. Got to see his new house and Oliver got hairs all over his new place. After spending a few days in Dallas,  we left for Houston to visit Cory and her kids. We were there in Houston for the July 4 celebration. We had a great time at her parents pool and even did some fireworks while we were there too.

Pool Time on July 4 in HoustonWe spent a few more days in Houston before we got in the car again with Cory to head to the beach. We went to Crystal Beach in Galveston, Texas. It was very hot, but we had a great time! Yes, we took Oliver to the beach and it was so fun to see his first experience seeing water, seeing waves, and running on the beach.

We normally keep Oliver on a leash, but this day, we decided it was a good idea to release him. He would stick around. There might have been a little protest to releasing him from the leash as it is known back in Topeka, he will take off if no gate and no leash. Yet, we went ahead and removed him from the leash. He stuck around for a few seconds, realized he was not hooked to the leach, and took off running as fast as he could. He ran down one way of the beach, stopped and looked at us following and yelling for him to come back, then ran the other direction right past us again. He stopped in front of our spot on the beach and seemed to catch his breath. Then went running off the other directions and did the same routine again running as fast as he could. Two spots down on the beach and the lady there told me "he is fast!", yeah, he is very fast and seems to run his fastest when off leash and no fences. He was running so far sand was flying up behind him in almost a cloud behind him as he ran. Wow!

Here are some pictures of Oliver at the beach that day and you will note he is on the leash. Such a good boy!


Oliver on the Beach Oliver Playing on the Beach First time seeing a beach or water

He was so happy and really did not mind the water. He did freak out as the waves would come into shore. He would be down close to the water and as the wave would come in he would run back up away from the water. He looked so happy and seemed to have a smile on his face the whole time we were down at the beach.

Following our time at Crystal Beach, we headed back to Houston for a few days. We left to head to Dallas and spend the night with Javier one last time before we headed out back to Topeka.

Wonderful trip and great to be a able to take our dog with us on the trip too. I hope that as Carrie and I look for future trips, we can find places to go and places to stay where we can take Oliver.

See all the pictures from our summer vacation below....

Trip to Texas 2016 Pictures

As the summer is starting to wind down and hopefully the heat starts to cool, I realized that I had not posted in over a month. As we were on our vacation, I had not posted about July 4 or what we did that day. So, I decided to post a summary of our vacation and what has happened this summer.

Vacation and being busy has taken a toll on both Carrie and I for being in the exercise routine. We have somewhat dropped out of the routine, but plan to get back into it aggressively as we head into the start of the semester.

Carrie is taking a class for the first time at Washburn that she is very excited to be doing. I am taking my second class in two semesters. I am starting a master program at Washburn in Communication and Leadership. I am very excited. It will take me a while to complete the masters program as I am doing one class per semester.

It should be a fun and interesting rest of the year. I trust everyone has had a wonderful summer. I would love to hear from you about our trip to Texas. Share your travel experiences from the summer, or just say hello.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day to Dad in Heaven, Dad Shirron, and All Fathers

Picture of Happy Father's Day

I have fond memories of Father's Day. I remember getting ties for my Dad, or a coffee mug, or simply drawing a picture to give him on this day. I remember watching golf all day long and lounging in front of the TV with some snoozing going on but the TV was on and the tournament being played. 

It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating various holidays with Dad. Now, only memories. So many wonderful memories of not only holidays, but stories he would tell, his laugh, and always wanting to be with family and friends. His always wanting everyone to have a great time and have everything they need when he was the host.

Happy Father's Day Dad in heaven! I know you are enjoying the day!

Happy Father's Day to Dad Shirron and all fathers on this day!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Workout Six Days Past Week Including Running and Jazzercise... Feeling Great!

For the first time I worked out everyday this past week except for Friday. I started Jazzercise a few weeks ago and love it! It is a good mix between runs to do something different. I wear a Garmin Forerunner 210 that uses a heart band to monitor the heart. This works great for running and I have used it for a few years now and love it! Using it for Jazzercise was not working too well as it only monitored my heart rate but not overall exercise.  So, this past week I purchased a foot pod for the Garmin. I have really enjoyed using it not only with my runs as it shows cadence and stride, but it is also working well for Jazzercise workouts too.

The above report is from a run I did today. It was very warm out for the run. I am closing in on the end of the Couch to 5K training. I am now doing a five minute walking warm up, running for about 20 minutes (varying each day), and then a five minute cool down. I have one more day for week 7 and then just three days left in the training finishing up with day three of week 3 hopefully next weekend.

Below is a Garmin Connect record from Jazzercise using the foot pod. It looks a little odd because it says distance is .75 miles and then average pace is 0.8. Not sure how accurate it is in terms of calories burned during training, but I like it better than having nothing at all.
I know that using the foot pod will work very well the next time I have to train indoors. Unless I was on equipment that could sync with the Garmin (such as the cycling bikes at the gym), there would be no record of distance, pace, etc. Now, I will be able to get that data even when training indoors without satellite. I am excited to give that a try too.

Overall, the running is still very enjoyable. I usually run with headphones listening to either new music, Royals games, or from my music library. I look forward to running and feel great following the run. During these longer runs, I do not always look forward to it in the middle of the run. I can hardly wait for it to end or sometimes question whether I will be able to finish the run. Those are the times that usually when I begin to question, I find that I am almost done and the timer goes off to stop.

The best part about running on a weekly basis is the joy that it brings our dog, Oliver, who gets excited when I begin to put on my running gear. Carrie tells me that while I am running he is running from the windows in the back to the door crying because he cannot wait for me to get back so we can go on a run. Truthfully, this is part of the drive for me to run multiple times each week. I love how excited Oliver gets for me to go running and then when we finally go walking following the run. I did try taking Oliver one or twice previously on the run and while he did well, it is now way too hot for him to go along with me. Today, I only took him on a short walk around the block as it was already warm by mid-morning.

The best part about running on a weekly basis is the joy it brings our dog Oliver.

I have not been doing great with eating although. I still eat basically what I want and continue to enjoy beers from time-to-time. That said, I have managed to lose about five pounds since I started this process. If I can keep up working out six days a week, I think I will continue to lose weight. I do eat alright through the week as Carrie is watching what she eats and that follows through to what I eat too. It simply has not been a focus or goal of my workout each week.

A few years ago, I was heavily into using MyFitnessPal which worked great! I used it religiously for three or four years. It worked well and I enjoyed it. Now, I only let it track my calories when synced with running. I am not using it to track calories consumed. Carrie is using this to track her calories and I know I have a number of friends currently using it too. It does a great job and I highly recommend the web site and/or app.

Until next time, happy training....