Saturday, June 15, 2024

Saying Goodbye to the Dodge: Memories of a Family Truck

Dad's 1997 Dodge Dakota Truck Leaving Lawrence
1997 Dodge Dakota Truck Donation

Dad passed on December 30, 2014 (see Remembering) and we have had his truck since he passed. The 1997 Dodge Dakota truck mainly sat in the driveway at my parents house. Every now and again Betsy, or Mom, would start the truck to drive around the block or run it for a few minutes. Most of the time though the past few years, it would not start at all. It was time to let the truck go and put the parts to better use.

Repair Work on Dodge Dakota Truck
Repair Work on Truck
I have so many memories of the truck. It is hard to believe my Dad bought that truck in 1997. He was never a big fan of the truck as I recall through the years. It would wear the front tires down bald quickly and I am not sure how many times he had to replace the tires faster than he thought should be necessary. There were other things about the truck he was not happy about, but he kept it and did his own repairs on the truck to keep it going. 

We used the truck for working at the cabin loading the tractor in the back, hauling rock, or hauling things to or from the cabin at Lone Star Lake. The truck was his primary mode of transportation as he had Mom driving the Accord. When Dad would go somewhere, he was usually in the truck. 

I remember driving the truck with the boat hitched to Clinton Lake with friends. Or, taking the boat to the shed where we kept the boat at rental properties. Tim and I would say how nice it would be to have a lift at the dock, but Dad wanted to keep it in the shed.

We were able to donate the truck to Washburn Tech. I believe the truck is too old for recycled rides that Washburn Tech does, but they can use it for instruction, parts, or scrap. If you have an old car you are looking to part ways with, I would suggest you reach out to Recycled Rides with Washburn Tech

The truck served us for many years and held good memories. Thanks to my sister, Betsy, for the pictures included in this post. I know it was a sad day for Mom and Betsy as they watched the truck be loaded up and hauled off, but I think it is best that it is no longer rusting in the drive.


Saturday, June 08, 2024

Walks, Wuffes, and Woofs: Celebrating Oliver's 13th with a Tail-Wagging Adventure

Oliver Walking on his Birthday
Oliver Walking on his Birthday

Oliver turned 13 on June 5. It was his birthday, and we showered him with greetings throughout the day. But the true highlight was going on a walk. I have been taking him on a walk following my jogging. He is anxious while I am gone and watching for me to return. This time though when I got back, he whined three times wanting to get going on his walk. Poor guy, his birthday and he had to wait for me to get back from a jog so he could show off to the neighborhood that it was his birthday. He had a grand time walking through the neighborhood. We walked one mile and I think he could have kept going.

Action Shot On Our Walk
Action Shot While we Walk

I wanted to get a picture of us walking, so I put my phone down by a tree and captured us on our walk. Oliver was a little confused on what we were doing as I placed the phone, backtracked, and then walked forward again. We did this a few times and I think he thought I had lost my mind. Nope! Just trying to get a picture of us walking together, Oliver. 

We spotted a few other dogs on our walk. Oliver, even at 13, can still be a bit excitable around other dogs. So, I usually try to avoid other dogs as much as possible on our walks. If we start down a street and I see someone with a dog, we might change routes so we avoid the dog. Some people we meet with dogs do not understand and want to approach for our dogs to meet. He has gotten better, but still a bit of a nut when meeting other dogs. Rather embarrassing when he acts like a nut. 
Selfie with Oliver on our Walk
Selfie with Oliver on our Walk

We had a good time on our walk. A lot of sniffing, finding spots, and looking over the lay of the land. Oliver gets so excited at the mention of "walk" so of course we spell it out and he is starting to recognize when we spell it out what we are talking about. I recently started running again and in turn started walking Oliver regularly. He loves it so much that I need to make sure to walk him through the week even if I am not running. He has a happy look on his face and of course he sleeps so well on the days we do our walks.

Oliver as a Puppy Back in October 2011
Oliver October 2011

It is hard to believe our little guy is thirteen years old. I still remember him as a little puppy with a lot of energy, playing with toys, wanting belly tickles, and have a grand time. Ok, well, he still does all of that at thirteen which is fantastic. 

A quick shout out to supplements that Carrie got for Oliver a few months ago and completely changed his energy and ability to run around or jump on the couch. She saw an ad on FaceBook for Wuffes. Prior to us giving Oliver Wuffes, he had joint pain, sometimes he could not jump on the couch, and he really had no energy to play. We have been giving him Wuffes for a few months and can see a difference in how he acts and the energy he has throughout the day. Carrie usually gives him his supplement at night after his super. All she says is "want your supplement" and he knows what is happening. Gets excited and waits for his supplement to be broken out to him.

Happy Birthday, Oliver. I hope you had a great day of celebration.


Sunday, June 02, 2024

Nostalgia Through Music

Album Art from "Painted Desert Serenade" by Joshua Kadison

I enjoy Apple Music and the fact that it can give a summary at the end of the year of songs that I have listened to frequently during the year. Prior to Apple Music, I was using Rhapsody by Real. It is sometimes fun to go back to see what I was listening to in heavy rotation when I first start using Apple Music. There are top songs for each year going back to 2015. I am not sure if I was using Apple Music prior to 2015, but that's the first playlist that shows up in my history with heavy play rotation.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Carrie and I stopped at my Mom's in Lawrence. Mom mentioned she had been listening to CD I used to listen to back in the early 90s. I was curious of the name and she told me it was Painted Desert Serenade by Joshua Kadison. I had completely forgotten about the CD until it was mentioned. I searched for Joshua Kadison on Apple Music and immediately brought back memories of college. I think it was a CD that when I moved out of the house, I left at home. My Mom came across it in my old things and started listening to it in the afternoons.

Since last weekend, I have listened to the songs a few times through Apple Music. It is crazy how hearing those songs takes me back to the early 1990s. Of course this is true with other songs in the way the song can take us back to another time. 

As I look back on my prior years through Apple Music going back to 2015, I see a number of similar artists that I listen to regularly throughout each year with one being Neil Diamond but also mixed into the mix includes James TaylorBruce Springsteen, Steve Winwood, Brett Dennen, and many others that show up year after year. 

What are some ways you keep track of music from your past?

I wish there was a way to look at back what I listened to as a kid, young adult, or into college. Yes, I remember some of them, but I know there are many CD's that I bought that I do not remember. Some I would like to find again that I know are in the house somewhere, but I have not been able to find them.

Until next time, have a great rest of your Sunday and a wonderful week...


Monday, May 27, 2024

The Mavericks in Kansas City and a Relaxing Weekend

The Mavericks at Knuckleheads
The Mavericks
This past weekend, Carrie and I took a long weekend trip to Kansas City to see The Mavericks perform. It was actually our second time seeing them in KC – they put on such a great show, and we already have plans to go again next year!

This time around, we met up with my brother Tim and cousin Tom for the concert. It was Tim's first time seeing The Mavericks, and we had a blast right up front – we were only about four or five people from the stage!

Tom, Tim, and John at The Mavericks
Tom, Tim, and John at The Mavericks

Opening Act at The Mavericks
Opening Act at The Mavericks

Raul Malo of The Mavericks
Raul Malo of The Mavericks

Group Photo at The Mavericks
Group Photo at The Mavericks

Selfie of Carrie and John at The Mavericks
Selfie at The Mavericks


Oliver in the Hotel Room with his Toys
Oliver in Hotel Room
Oliver enjoys hotel life

We brought our dog Oliver along with us. He actually loves staying in hotels! He enjoys relaxing in the room while we're out, but his favorite part is definitely the walks he gets throughout the day. It's hilarious to see him prance down the hallway, knowing exactly how to get in the elevator, and thinking every door we pass is "our room."

Exploring Kansas City

We arrived in Kansas City on Thursday afternoon and checked into our hotel, the Intercontinental on the Plaza. This hotel is dog-friendly, and they haven't charged us a pet fee either time we've brought Oliver.

Pancakes at The Classic Cup Cafe
Pancakes at The Classic Cup
Friday morning, we slept in and then headed to The Plaza for a late breakfast at The Classic Cup Cafe. They have a great patio, perfect for people-watching with Oliver. The pancakes were fantastic, and Carrie loved her breakfast sandwich – the homemade fries were a hit too!

After breakfast, we wandered around the shops before heading back to the hotel for a relaxing afternoon of reading, snoozing, and hanging out with Oliver.

Oliver at Breakfast
Oliver at Breakfast

Walking Oliver Late at Night
Walking Oliver Late at Night

Drinks, dinner, and good company

That evening, we met up with Erin and Greg for drinks at Chaz Restaurant and Lounge before heading to our dinner reservation at McCormick & Schmick's (always a delicious choice!). We finished the night with drinks in the bar area of our hotel.

Us on The Plaza
Us on The Plaza
Relaxing Saturday and back home

Saturday was another slow start. We grabbed coffee at Summer Moon Coffee before heading to meet Erin and Greg for lunch in Lawrence, instead of Kansas City. We dropped Oliver off at my mom's place before lunch and then spent most of the afternoon catching up with her before heading back to Topeka.

It was a fantastic weekend filled with great music, seeing family, delicious food and drinks, and beautiful weather. We made some wonderful memories, and we hope you had a great long weekend as well!


Honoring Our Fallen Heroes on Memorial Day

American Flag on Memorial Day

This Memorial Day, as I watched the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS, I was reminded of the true meaning of the holiday. The beautiful music and powerful stories paid tribute to the sacrifices made by those who died serving our country.

Tears welled up as I listened to families recount the lives and service of their sons and daughters who gave their all in combat. Their bravery and dedication ensure the freedoms we cherish today – the freedom to live our lives as we choose.

On this day of remembrance, I am deeply grateful for all those who came before us, who devoted their lives to protecting the United States from threats both foreign and domestic.

May we never forget their sacrifice.


Sunday, May 19, 2024

Royals Win on a Beautiful Friday Night!

Royals Game on May 17, 2024 Against the A's
Royals Game on May 17

Another Great Night at the Ballpark

This past Friday night, I headed to my second Royals game of the season with Greg, Eddie, and Chris. It was a beautiful evening, and the best part? The Royals pulled off a win against the A's!

We arrived early to enjoy some pre-game tailgating. It had been a while since I'd been able to do that, and it was a great way to kick things off. Greg whipped up some hot dogs, Eddie brought the beers, and Chris supplied the peanuts. All I had to do was show up and enjoy the delicious food and drinks!

Greg and John in our Seats
Greg and me in our Seats

Greg got our seats and parking permit and then we all paid him back. I thought I got a picture of Eddie, Chris, and me, but I was using the BallPark app and apparently it did not post or did not take, so I have the picture to the right of Greg and me at the game. 

Royals Perfect When I Attend (So Far!)

While I wasn't able to find a picture of everyone together (seems the BallPark app failed me this time!), I did snag one of Greg and me at the game. Interestingly, the BallPark app tracks your attendance and win/loss record for the games you go to. With two games under my belt this season, the Royals are undefeated when I'm in the stands! (Just sayin') 

Stats from BallPark App for Stadiums and Teams
Stats from BallPark App

BallPark App Fun Facts

For anyone who's been using the BallPark app for a while, like me, checking your team stats can be a fun way to relive past games. To find yours, just tap your initials in the top left corner. My profile shows I've checked in to 33 games, seen 16 different teams, and visited 3 ballparks.

The app even tells me my earliest recorded game was on June 8th, 2013 (guessing the app launched around then?). Most of my Royals game attendance came in the magical 2014 season, where I saw 10 games throughout the regular and post-season. What a ride that was! And of course, who can forget the back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014 and 2015? Carrie and I were lucky enough to attend game one of the 2015 Series – an experience I'll never forget.

Royals Win!!!!
Royals Win!!!!

Here's to More Games and Ballpark Memories!

I'm looking forward to catching more Royals games this season and adding to my BallPark app stats. Maybe I'll even visit some new ballparks in the coming years! (Though I've definitely been to more than three, some pre-date the app's existence). Those attendance records are a fun way to see how my teams perform when I cheer them on in person.

Until next time, have a great week and Go Royals!

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Happy Mother's Day to All the Moms Out There, Especially Mine!

Tongue Out and Sleeping
Tongue Out and Sleeping

Every year on the second Sunday of May, we celebrate Mother's Day, a day dedicated to honoring the incredible women who raised us, nurtured us, and loved us unconditionally. But where did this tradition even begin?

The origins of Mother's Day can be traced back to ancient civilizations who celebrated fertility and motherhood. In the modern era, credit for the holiday goes to Anna Jarvis of West Virginia. After her mother passed away in 1905, Anna campaigned tirelessly to create a special day to recognize the sacrifices and contributions of mothers. It wasn't until 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making Mother's Day an official national holiday in the United States.

Why is Mother's Day so important? Mothers are the cornerstones of our families. They are the ones who bandage scraped knees, celebrate our victories, and offer a shoulder to cry on during our defeats. They are our biggest cheerleaders, our confidantes, and our guiding lights.

This Mother's Day, I want to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude to three amazing women: 

Carrie (Wife and Mom to Oliver), you take good care of Oliver and me. Oliver wanted to wish you a Happy Mother's Day which he did with kisses first thing this morning when he saw you wake up. Oliver cannot wait to snuggle on the sofa with you to celebrate.

Mom (Nancy), thank you for your unwavering love and support throughout my life. You taught me the importance of hard work, kindness, and resilience. Your endless patience and guidance have shaped me into the person I am today. Of course Oliver had to be part of the day to help celebrate.

Joan, Happy Mother's Day! Your warmth and thoughtfulness aren't reserved for holidays – your delicious cooking and special gifts are a constant reminder of your love and support. Thank you.

To all the moms out there, Happy Mother's Day! May your day be filled with love, laughter, and appreciation. You are all truly heroes.