Sunday, October 02, 2022

Book Reading and Attending Author Speaking at Public Library... So fun! Enjoying My Time Reading Each Day...

My goal for 2022 was to read at least 20 books for the year. Well over the half-way point, I think I am going to exceed the 20 book count. I have read my Kindle every day since before January 1, 2022, so I have a nice long streak going of reading. I typically read over the noon hour after eating lunch and at home with Carrie and Oliver. My other regular time to read is while in bed and getting ready to go to sleep. No matter the time, what we are doing, or where we are at, I have made time to read at least once a day.

The Kindle app tracks days I read, how many books I have read, etc., so I like that part of using the Kindle device and Kindle app on my phone. Carrie told me a trick that when I have a book checked out from the library, if I put my Kindle in airplane mode, I can continue reading the book past when it is "due" back to the library. It takes me longer to read than others, but I have made progress, yet I find that Kindle app is currently showing the last time I read was on August 14. Once I finish my current book it will all sync up and show a streak again going back to before January 1.

The latest series I am reading is by C. J. Box which was a recommendation from the late Rick Ellis who worked with Carrie in Learning in the Community (LinC). I am almost done with the third book in the Joe Pickett series. I have enjoyed the books so far and there are over twenty in this series, so I should have something to read for a while.

Joe Pickett is a game warden in the north and a basic average guy who is trying to do the right thing. Protecting the land and the people he loves. The story line is good and believable which keeps me going back to see what happens next.

Carrie had heard that C. J. Box was going to be speaking at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library this past Tuesday. We got tickets (it was free) and went to hear C. J. Box talk. The place was packed and it is possible Carrie and I were some of the youngest in the audience, but we had a great time. C. J. Box talked for about an hour about various pieces of his book and television shows which recently launched. 

We saw our friend, Autumn, at the event too although she works there, she was excited to hear C. J. Box talk that evening too. Neither Carrie, or Autumn, have read any of the books, but I know Carrie plans to read some of his books. I think my Mom is going to read some of his books too as I told her about the event and how I am enjoying the series.

I am having fun reading and finding new series to read. I have done a few of a book club books and those were good, but I also like to start a series to read the whole thing. I am always interested to hear what books others are ready or what they recommend for me. Carrie has provided me some good books over the years to read.

Enjoy whatever book you are reading...


Sunday, September 25, 2022

Celebrating 20 Years of Marriage for Carrie and I this past week… We Did a Royals game and Fancy Dinner Saturday Night

Anniversary Flowers for Carrie
Flowers for Carrie

Carrie and I celebrated twenty years of marriage on Wednesday, September 21. To celebrate, I got Carrie flowers and Saturday we went out for dinner at The White Linen which will be our first time eating at The White Linen. Friday night while not necessarily celebration for our anniversary, we have made it part of our anniversary celebration in the past, so we went to our one and only Royals game Friday night… Came away with a Royals win and a fun time.

Carrie and John at Royals Game on Friday, September 23, 2022
Carrie and I at Royals Game

I realized as we were tailgating pregame that I had not been to a Royals game since June 23, 2019. There was the pandemic where we could not attend in-person for Royals games and then last year, we never made it to a game. We did attend a Royals game in Minnesota back in September 2019 and actually attended two Royals that time we were there (see post from 2019). 

We went to the game with Greg and Erin and had a large time. As I have mentioned in past posts, I am doing Weight Watchers, so I blew through my points on Friday… but so worth it! Wonderful time at The K. It had rained earlier in the day, so it was a cool night. Close to needing a jacket but an enjoyable evening.

Erin, Greg, Carrie, and John at Royals Game September 2022
Erin, Greg, Carrie, and I at Game
We sat on first base side down by the foul pole. As you can see in the pictures, there were not many people at the game. The food we had at the game was good from nachos to hotdogs, it did not disappoint. The beer was good too although at one location, it tasted a little off. We heard some other fans mentioning it too when we were out getting food. I drank it though, but went back to Shandy’s that always taste good. 

Following the game, we ended up going to Waffle House. Man, it had been a long time since I had been there. Last time we tried to go there, which was last year, they were closed following an Arkansas basketball game in KC. Again, more “bad” eating, but it was my cheat day, so I was fine. Curious to see how my weigh-in will work out for me this week. It tasted so good and was a perfect ending to a wonderful night.

Overall Check-in Record for me at Royals Games
Check-in Record for
Royals Games
If you did not know, the Ball Park app from the MLB allows you to check-in at games and it keeps track of them fo you. I was able to go back and see when I had last been at a game plus see my overall stats for how the Royals have done when I attend a game. Ok, granted, many of these check-ins were from two World Series hunts, but overall, the Royals are 21-9 when I attend their games. I think that should account for something and get me to more games next year.

I have checked into games 31 times going back to June 8, 2013 when I did my first check-in for a game. I have checked into Kauffman Stadium 27 times, Target Field 3, and Globe Life Park in Arlington once. Of course, not all of those check-ins were for the Royals. I love that the app can track my check-ins so I can remember those events. It allows for pictures and helps to remember what games I attended. 

Our dinner at The White Linen Saturday night was delicious. We had a wonderful time. We went to The Knox Cocktail Lounge which is the bar area and had a few drinks. We were not disappointed. Our friend Phil was working as bartender, so it was good to catch up with him while we had our drinks. 

Emerald Dove and Old Fashioned from The Knox Cocktail Lounge
Emerald Dove and Old Fashioned

Vermillion and Pathfinder from The Knox Cocktail Lounge
Vermillion and Pathfinder

Drinks were good and we really like the bar area. Phil shared with us that they will be starting a happy hour in the coming weeks. Dark and good selection of beers and spirits. We had a good time.

Our reservations were at 7:30 and so we were taken to our seats. Kind of odd as we sat at our table for a while before anyone came to see us or ask if we wanted anything. We did not even have water, so that was kind of odd. Just about the time I was getting ready to stay something, a waiter finally came up to greet us. Once he talked to us, he took great care of us and provided good advice on wine pairings and food selection. 

The White Linen is a small eating area with only about 10 - 15 tables. The quality of the food was excellent as we were reminded us of another place that was fancy but closed down a few years ago. The name is escaping me at the time, but it was close to downtown. 

Knife and Fork Caesar Salad
Knife and Fork Caesar Salad

Chicken Crepe
Chicken Crepe


Crab Cakes
Crab Cakes


Seared Venison
Seared Venison


White Chocolate Bread Pudding
White Chocolate Bread Pudding



Following dinner, we met up with Erin and Greg for drinks at Salute Wine and Cocktail Lounge. A great way to end the evening.

It is hard to believe it has been twenty years that Carrie and I have been married. Here is to twenty more and living each day with my best friend. I love you, Carrie!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

A Busy Week in Review from Dinner with Cousins, Meetings, Chiefs Football, Dinner, Tailgating, and Volleyball… What’s Next?

Tuesday Night Dinner with Cousins

What a week! It was a busy week at work and at home. We went to Kansas City for dinner, I attended meetings downtown on Wednesday and Thursday, Kansas City Chiefs played Thursday night, Friday we met with family at Shirrons’, and then Saturday was Washburn football with Washburn volleyball in the evening. Busy and fun weekend…

Kansas City Cousin Dinner
Tuesday night Carrie and I traveled into Kansas City to meet up with some of my siblings and cousins. I know my sister, Betsy, has many more pictures, but I was able to take a few pictures of others at the dinner. We met at YaYa’s Euro Bistro in Kansas City. This was the first time for non-Kansas City cousins to attend. We had a fun time and it was great to see everyone. Catch up and hear stories. Our cousin, Mike, had reserved a private dining space for us which worked out great! I hope we are able to do this again in the future and maybe on a weekend.

On Wednesday, I attended meetings in downtown Topeka for the Kansas Board of Regents. Other CIO’s at the regent institutions were attending the meeting to be available for discussion and comment on funding from the state. Happy to report that the funding was approved. I attended to show support and show that Washburn University is involved and needs support. On Thursday, I went back to the Kansas Board of Regents full board meeting where the proposal was approved. Happy to report that Washburn was approved to get funding, so we will be working over the next few weeks to develop a plan for allocation of funds.

This was my first time attending a Kansas Board of Regents meeting and I found it very interesting. It was good to catch up with fellow CIO’s from other institutions. We went out to lunch on Wednesday following the meeting and made plans for Thursday on who would return and how we would proceed. I have been meeting with other CIO’s the past year and this was only our second time to meet in-person as our regular monthly meetings are on-line. It was good to see everyone and share stories over lunch.

Thursday night was Kansas City Chiefs football. We were invited to watch the game at our friend Chris’s house. It was our “lucky” place to watch last year, so he invited us back to watch the game. The Kansas City Chiefs did not look great to start the game, but came to live and we were able to win the game 27 - 24. The Chiefs are 2 - 0 to start the season, so sitting good so far. 

Friday night, Carrie and I went to her parents to have dinner and visit with friends from Arkansas. Nancy and Jack were up for a golf tournament Jack was playing in with Eddie. Such a fun couple! We at dinner and then sat around listening to stories, some of which we have heard a few times, but some new stories too. I love sitting around and hearing stories be told. I will see Nancy and Jack in early October when I am down in Helena, AR for King Biscuit Blues Festival

Saturday took us out to Washburn University for tailgating and football. It was a hot Saturday with the sun beating down for most of the first half. I saw a number of friends and it was good to catch up with them. I saw some friends we had not seen in a few years, so it was good to talk to them. One has their daughter attending Washburn, so it sounds like our friends will be out for more games in the future. 

Washburn football did not start off well and could never recover against University of Nebraska at Kearney. We lost the game 21 - 13, so that was disappointing to lose a game and to lose at home. We play at Missouri Western State University on September 24.

Saturday evening, Carrie, Greg, Erin, and I attended Washburn volleyball. We lost against Northwest Missouri State 3 - 1. We got behind to start 2 - 0, won the third set, and then could not get it going in the fourth set. A rare loss for Washburn volleyball.

A busy week also means that I did not eat too great. Football, tailgating, and seeing family and friends had me eating well over my points for the week. So, at my weigh-in Sunday morning, I gained two pounds over last week. Disappointed, but I am not surprised based on how I ate this past week. 

This week will likely not be much better with our first Royals game of the season on Friday and then Saturday a fancy dinner to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I will continue to stay focused and hope to get back to working out too. That was the other part I did not get in this past week with everything happening was that I only worked out twice. So, a lot of room for improvement for this week. 

Posting this update mid-day on Sunday as I did not have a chance to write or think about a post during the week. Hoping to get back on target this next week. Have a great week and I hope the weather stays cool.


Sunday, September 11, 2022

Stats for August Working Out About Same as July Stats

Monthly Stats from August 2022

The month of August was busy. The return of students to campus the later part of the semester and the first part of the month we had returned from being on vacation the last part of July. Although I did manage to get two works outs that first week of August, the second week I did not get but one into the week. I got things back in order the third week and fourth week. No changes from the number of workouts I did from July, so that was good. I slacked a lot for the month though as I look back at August, so I have room to improve as I look at September.

Although I had been saying I had wanted to get running into my routine, it did not occur during the month of August. Still, I keep the plan alive to start running to my exercise routine. We did start Weight Watchers on August 5, so that felt good. Even though we started on August 5, I did go about another week before I started working out regularly. It felt good to get back on the bike after a week of being away.

Individual stats from August had my down a bit from minutes worked out. Miles traveled were down too as you would expect with minutes being down. No change in total number of workouts as indicated previously. Then total calories was also down a lot from the prior month. 

I feel good as I look back on overall workout from August. Yes, I could have done more, but I think it was good considering a busy month and the motivation was lacking for at least a week there toward the beginning of the month.

I am always looking for ways to improve exercise process. Whatever I can do to increase motivation, work out more, and make the process interesting is what I am looking to do as I go month-to-month. True, some days I do not feel like getting on a the bike at all. I have to motivate myself just to get on the bike, but I usually feel much better after I do the bike even when I do not want to do so.

So far I am enjoying the process and I keep going back to get on the bike even when I do not feel like doing so. If I can keep it going and make it a part of my week as a routine, I will keep getting on the bike and enjoying the process.

For now, I will continue to ride and enjoy the process even on those days I do not feel like riding. Until next week, have a great week and may you keep the momentum to keep riding, running, or doing what you do.


Monday, September 05, 2022

Happy Labor Day 2022!

Happy Labor Day 2022!

I hope you have had a great holiday weekend! Today is Labor Day 2022. We acknowledge the hard work of Americans who have contributed to our country and our prosperity. For many of us it is a three day weekend where we do not have to work on Monday, but there are many that work while we have our holiday.

A holiday that reminds me of the end of summer where we see pools closing, baseball nearing an end, and football starting across the country. We are past the half-way point of 2022 and yet we have a lot of great days left to look forward to in 2022. 

Enjoy today as Labor Day 2022 and look at everything yet to happen in the remaining months of 2022. Until next week, enjoy the day, short week, and NFL starting later this week.


Sunday, September 04, 2022

First Game of Season for Washburn was Thursday, September 1 and We Had a Blast!

Flyover at Washburn First Game of the Season
Flyover at Washburn

Washburn football started their season Thursday and we had a flyover. Low and slow the planes flew which was very cool! I believe they did this last year too. Thanks to my sister-in-law, Erin, she snapped some pictures before they flew away.

A beautiful night opened up the season with tailgating and football at Yager Stadium. Bright and sunny where it was actually very warm when in the sun, but a perfect night for football. Washburn was set to play Lincoln and won the game 45 - 3. In case you were wondering, Washburn won last year against Lincoln 76 - 12. 

Washburn Stadium at Sunset
Washburn at Sunset

I neglected to take any pictures Thursday night, but thankfully Erin got some pictures and then Carrie took this one of the sun setting on the clouds over the field. Beautiful! 

We picked up Subway for dinner along with some chips we picked up from the store. Tried to be healthy and not eat like a typical tailgate. I did have some beers, but kept it to Michelob Ultra and only a few of them, so I did pretty well overall with eating.

It was great to see so many friends and people out at the stadium. Carrie and I bought a parking spot this year, so we were able to try it out for the first time Thursday night. Worked out great and it means I do not have to run off to get the car as the game is winding down to pack up. Nice a close and worked out great! We have requested if another spot opens up in front of where we tailgate that we be moved, so I am on a list to be moved once a spot opens up for us.

Erin, Greg, Joan, and Eddie all came out to watch the first game of the season. What a great night! As the fourth quarter was coming to an end, I see my friend Matt walking up to join us. I had wondered if I would see him out at the game, so it was good to see him and chat with him for a while. 

Our next door “neighbor” for tailgating, Jonny, did not make it to this game. I did not figure he would as he lives outside of Topeka, but I chatted with him via text. Hopefully we will see him at the next home game.

Washburn plays next on Thursday, September 8 at Warrensburg, MO. I will be watching that game on-line and cheering on the Bods. We play our next home game on Saturday, September 17 which happens to also be Family Day.

Be sure to catch some of the other sports that are happening for Washburn. We are planning to go to the volleyball game on Friday, September 9. Always a good time!

Go Bods!


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Rambling Along on a Weekend About Sports, Books, Camping, and Whatever Else Comes to Mind

Carrie and John at Tailgate in 2013
Carrie and John from 2013
Rambling along on a Sunday is what this post is about. Not one specific thing to discuss or talk about today, but various items that may or may not connect together. That’s what happens sometimes as I go to think about what to write for my Sunday update. In this edition, I will talk sports, books, camping, and anything else that comes to mind that I feel like sharing. I hope you find these as interesting as my other weeks posts about specific events or topics.

Sports

The days are getting shorter and believe it or not, the temperature is starting to drop too. We have had some really nice weather the past week or two, so we can see fall is approaching. Granted, we had at least two days this past week that were in the upper 90s, but the evenings are so nice. The shorter days and lower temperatures mean only one thing… football is starting. 

Washburn Football

Washburn plays our first game of the season at home on Thursday, September 1. I cannot wait! We finally have a parking spot in the tailgate this year, so I am excited to have that although it is a ways from our “spot” it will be nice to have the car close for everything we pack and not having to walk a distance to get it to our “spot”. We will still be by the flag pole in the northeast corner of the field. I am doing Weight Watchers, so planning to eat a little better at this tailgate with Subway for dinner and some Michelob Ultra beers for watching the game. We only have five home games and we will miss at least one which will be the last game of the season. I might find a way to get out for part of the game, but too early to say at this point. 

We had a great season last year and I expect to see another great season this year too. Last year we had some memorable victories at home and even one where our neighbor ran on to the field after we won. Good times! I am looking forward to another fun round of games at home and on the road. I renewed my subscription for streaming Washburn sports as well as our season tickets to football in case we decide to go into the stadium. I think it is going to be a fun season and I cannot wait to get it started on Thursday. Go Bods!

Washburn Volleyball

We love going to volleyball games. I watched the whole season streaming last year and it was a wonderful season. Every year we say we are going to go to a lot of volleyball games and the season flies by with us only going to a few. I am hoping to get to a lot more games this year. I have them on my calendar and I know Carrie is interested in going to more of them this year too, so we will plan to cheer on the volleyball team at home this year in-person. I am watching an away game this morning as I write this update on Saturday morning with Washburn playing Midwestern. We started the season Thursday and we are already off to a good start… season is young, but expect great things from the team again this season. 

If you have not been out to a volleyball game, you should make it a point to get out to a match. It is so fun! Even though I do not know/recall all of the rules for volleyball, we have fun cheering on our team. I love the fact that as the final point is about to be scored the home crowd stands and claps until the point is won. Yes, I realize this is not unique to Washburn volleyball, but it makes it a fun environment and us as fans like we are helping the team along to the win.

Fantasy Football and Baseball

The baseball season is coming to an end. The Royals are in another struggling year, but still having fun watching their games and the new talent. I am in two fantasy baseball leagues and while I am not sure I have ever won a fantasy baseball league, I have fun setting my rosters each day and following the games for each of my players. Fantasy sports is a lot of making the right decision on who to play, who to draft, and when to bench a player, but it is also a lot of luck. At one point during this season, I had the majority of my roster in one league on the IR. With all of the “good” players drafted, it makes it difficult to go out to the waiver wire to pick up quality players, so sometimes it is necessary to use up spots on the roster with injured players. Again, this is what makes it fun to struggle through IR instances or survive the season without a single injured player where when I have had this occur, I am toward the top of the rankings. All part of the game and it is so fun!

Fantasy football is starting up and this week I will be drafting in the two leagues I take part. One league is a free league and the other is one where we put in money for fun. Both are a lot of fun and both I am in with friends, so it is a good time. I love baseball, but I really like fantasy football. Unlike baseball where I have to check my roster daily, make changes, etc., in fantasy football I check a few times a week to make changes. Typically prior to Thursday, when there are games, prior to Sunday, and then again on Monday. A final check to see who I can pick up on waivers to prepare for the next week of play. It is so fun!

Typically at some point during the season, usually for football, the league finds a time to meet up at a local establishment to watch a game and talk some trash. I love it when we are able to connect during the season (baseball or football) to watch a game, have a few drinks, and what some of “our” players in a game. All part of the fun of the season.

Kansas City Chiefs

Speaking of football, who is ready for the Chiefs season to begin? We came up short last year and looking to have a great season this year, I cannot wait for it to start. It all starts on Sunday, September 11 with Kansas City Chiefs playing Arizona Cardinals. Looking forward to seeing us on the field and Mahomes leading us down the field. Football happens to be one of the sports Carrie does not enjoy to watch, but it is one of my favorite things to do on a Sunday. Football all afternoon and even better when my Chiefs are playing. 

Last season I remember we started out slow losing some early season games. I recall social media saying our season was over and then we came to life and started winning. I am hoping not to start off slow this year and have game mode at the start of the season. Do not let teams back into games, but finish them early and keep the heat on throughout the game to the end. We lost the first four of seven games last year and people were saying our season was over, but yet we turned it around. Let’s not start that way this season! Let’s go Chiefs!

Books and Reading

Kindle Book Reading on a Saturday
Reading with Kindle
I continue the enjoyment of reading. I started January 2022 with the goal of reading 20 books for the year and so far I have read 14 books. I have read every day since January 1, 2022 which has been a nice change. I typically read every night before going to sleep, so sometimes I read for just a few minutes to thirty or 40 minutes before falling asleep. It is a nice way to wind down, ignore the phone, email, and social media to just relax and enjoy a book. I continue to read on my Kindle which I love and I have anywhere from two to three books downloaded at any one time to the device in airplane mode so I do not lose them when they are due back at the library. Work out nice except sometimes I miss books I have reserved because I cannot come out of airplane mode or I will lose some of my books. 

Currently I am reading “Where the Crawdads Sing” which happens to also be in theaters. I am really enjoying this book and I look forward to seeing the movie. Prior to this book, I had been reading a lot of series. An eight book series by L.T. Ryan, I only have one book left. I had to take a break from the series though, but I plan to finish up that last book in the near future. I have another series Carrie started me on by C.J. Box which as been really good and I am about three books into that series. Again, I took a little break while I read some other books that were on my list.

At the rate I am going, I think I will exceed my 20 book goal for the year. Only a few short months and the year will be changing, but I think I can finish strong and go a ways past my twenty book target. It will be the most books I have read in one year. It has been a fun process and I look forward to continuing the goal for next year.

Camping

We have only been camping once this year. It was early spring that we went. We were hoping to go again, but it was a busy summer and the fall is turning out to be busy too. I have hope we can fit in one more weekend get away to go camping. The difficult part is that there are sports happening that I want to see, blue festival in early October, and other events happening that prevent us from taking a weekend. Still, I hope we can find a weekend to take Oliver and get to be lakeside somewhere to enjoy the outdoors and some good books.

Next year, I hope we can make it to more than four camp sites. We went to three sites last summer with four total as we went to one spot twice, so I am hoping to make it to just as many next summer if not more. Start a little earlier in the spring and go later in the fall, we might be able to beat that camping number.

End of Rambling

The end of August is right around the corner and I wish the days would slow down just a little. Going by way too fast as we watch 2022 speed by. I hope to have some future posts about sports that we attend as well as books I am reading. Of course, I also hope to have a camping trip in the near future, but not sure when that will occur. For now, I am trying to slow down the days and enjoy reading a good book or enjoying a sporting event. 

I hope you have a great rest of the weekend and can enjoy some quiet time before the busy week starts again.