Sunday, August 07, 2022

50 Birthday Celebration in Fredericksburg Was a Success! Great Time in Wine Country!

Me Acting Like Carrie Taking a Selfie and Corrie Taking Me Taking My Own Picture
We started planning my 50th birthday celebration back in December or January. Narrowed down the locations from remote beaches, sea side in the United States, to wine country locations. I made the decision I liked wine and we would revisit Fredericksburg (Fred), Texas. We had visited Fred back in 2020 prior to COVID occurring and had a great time, so it seemed like a good place to visit and have some fun. We decided on a VRBO house after going through a few dozen or so locations that we all reviewed, gave feedback, etc., but finally decided on one that could hold six of us and it had a pool.

Car Trip to Texas for Birthday Weekend
Our trip was scheduled for when my birthday would occur, so we planned for July 20 through July 26. During our trip we took a lot of pictures. I picked out some for this update, but others can be seen on my Flickr site. Yes, we took over 280 pictures although some are duplicates, there are a lot of photos of our fun and wineries we visited. Below, I will attempt to outline what we did each day and some of the wineries or restaurants we visited.

Wednesday, July 20

This was our travel day. Erin, Greg, Carrie, and I left Topeka bright and early this morning. We loaded up the car and we were on the road a little after 5 am. Oliver being watched by my mom. We thought about taking him, but it would have been too much for him, so I am glad we left him behind.

Uneventful trip which was good. Greg and I split up the drive, so it was not bad at all. It is around an 11 hour drive to our house. Really, the trip was not bad at all and when making the trip with others that can help with the drive, it makes it go by quickly. 

Picture from Hot Tub and Pool to Pool House
We arrived late afternoon and checked out our house for the week. I was so happy with the house we selected. After reviewing many different houses in different locations, I am so happy we decided on Sunny Oaks TX. So, we arrived, checked out the house and then went to get something to eat. Javier and Corrie meeting us on Thursday, so we were on our own for finding a place to eat. We went to Hondo’s On Main which Carrie and I had been to back in 2020. We had a spot near the bar and really good food and drinks. Had a good time for our first night in Fred before heading back to the house later that night. Of course we had to get in the pool when we got back to the house where we hung out until it was time for bed.

Thursday, July 21

Corrie Snapped a Picture of Me on Peloton
I woke up earlier and rode the Peloton for a while. Javier and Corrie were arriving to town today, so we were a little excited. Originally, we were going to meet them at the Hill Country Distillers, but plans changed and we would meet Corrie and Javier at the house. Greg and I were like little kids watching for our friends to arrive. I think I checked the front door a dozen times and then as the time approached they were supposed to arrive, we were both looking out the front door for their arrival. After their arrival, taking in their things, saying hello, and showing around the house, we left to go grab lunch.

We stopped by a place none of had been for lunch which was really good. High’s Cafe and Store with really good sandwiches and soups. It was a good way to lay a base before we started having some gin and whiskey at the distillers.

After lunch, we headed to Hill Country Distillers that Corrie, Javier, Carrie, and I had been to previously, but first time for Greg and Erin. I realized we only took one picture while we were at Hill Country Distillers which I think was due to our enjoyment of the variation of drinks. Good spot that I highly recommend checking out if you are near Comfort, Texas.

Headed into crossroad Steakhouse & Saloon

For dinner Thursday night, Corrie and Javier selected the spot and paid for our dinner. Thank you! It was a secret until the day they arrived and it was excellent! Crossroads Steakhouse & Saloon was the selection. It was wonderful! Everything from the drinks down to the dinner was excellent. I had the bone-in pork chop with Brussels sprouts. Oh my! Prior to dinner I had a classic martini and then Corrie and Javier got the table two bottles of wine. Fantastic spot for dinner and to start off our weekend of fun.

Following dinner, we went back to the house to get in the pool and enjoy some drinks around the pool in the Texas evening. It was wonderful!

Friday, July 22

This was our first day of visiting wineries, so we had to get a good base before we started. We went to what has become a tradition of visiting Mr. Gatti’s Pizza which is pizza buffet and salad. We went there back in 2020 and decided it would be good to go before we started the wineries. Following pizza, we had three wineries on the itinerary.

Augusta Vin Looking Out at the Vines

Augusta Vin is one of our favorites. Corrie, Javier, Carrie, and I had been there back in 2020 where Carrie and I have been club members since that first visit. We changed up our delivery to have a mixed wine box delivered four times a year. Previously, we had only reds delivered, but changed up the delivery to be a mix. All of their wines have been delicious and I have enjoyed their white wines when we visit, so decided to switch it up. We sat out on the VIP balcony and enjoyed a tasting followed by a glass of wine we shared. Enjoyable first day of visiting wineries. 

Heath Sparkling Wines

Heath Sparkling Wine at Grape Creet Vinyards was our next stop. We had tried to stop here back in 2020 not knowing they had just opened and it was by reservation only. This was sparkling wines paired with food. We all agreed we would go there to eat if the chef would do full meals. 

Corrie and Carrie at Heath Sparkling Wines The pairings were perfect and we learned the process of sparkling wines while we sampled. We did have a brief time where we were not sure if we were going to get in as there was some confusion with our reservation, but they grouped us together with two other ladies and everything worked out just fine. 

Following sparkling wines, we went back to red and white wines at Carter Creek Winery Resort & Spa which was a cool spot. Wine was good and had a huge outdoor area for events, cornhole, or just hanging out enjoy a glass of wine. There was also a brewery on the grounds which had some good beer which I enjoyed after an afternoon of wine. 

Saturday, July 23

Driver to Take Us Around to Wineries

The schedule was set with four wineries and a driver to take us around. It was so fun! Nick was great! He was a college student that drove people around on the weekends for wineries. He took good care of us checking us into the various locations and getting us to and fro safely.

Excited for the day and to get it started, we had a breakfast casserole that Corrie had made. Again, it provided a good base for us for the day of visiting wineries. I think I also had a Bloody Mary, or more, to start the day before enjoy wines. So exciting to have a driver picking us up and not having to worry about getting from one place to the next. We were ready to head out…

Slate Theory Winery Cellers
Our first stop was Slate Theory which as an amazing location and winery. The wine was delicious and their cellar was so impressive. Below ground and a nice cool temperature for wine, we sampled wines and looked around their production area. The concept for Slate Theory was cool as their label was about mental health and attempting to remove the stigma regarding mental health from their label to the various names of their wines (i.e. Insomniac and Schizophrenic to name a few). We all enjoyed our time at Slate Theory.

Second on the agenda was Hye Meadow Winery where we also had lunch. They sat us outside which was very warm. Not bad while we did the wine tasting, but once our food arrived, we were all ready to go inside. I enjoyed the wines at Hye Meadow Winery, but we did not buy any wines or sign up for any clubs at this one. 

William Chris Vineyards
William Chris Vineyards was our third stop of the day. A nice little stop where at first we thought we were going to be outside, but they moved us inside to a counter where it was cool. It was a little loud from “woo girls” in the tasting room and our host was a soft speaker, but we had a good time.

Hilmy Cellars Group Photo
Hilmy Cellars was a fun last stop. Again, they wanted to put us outside, but Carrie got them to keep us inside at the counter. I really enjoyed the wines at Hilmy Cellars and we were able to enjoy a glass after the tasting while we waited for Nick to come pick us up. We also had some good flavored popcorn, which was much needed after various wineries, to tide us over until dinner time. 

What a great time of having a driver to take us around town, enjoy great venues, and wines, and to have fun in Fred. Nick picked us up from Hilmy Cellars and took us back to the house. We spent the evening around the pool, eating burgers, and continuing the fun.

Sunday, July 24

JenBlossom Cellare Group Photo
Our last day to do wineries, so we had Grape Creek Vineyards which is located at the same location/area as Heath Sparkling Wine that we had visited earlier in the week. Although, we had reservations at JenBlossom CellarsJenBlossom Cellars turned out to be a private tasting which was amazing and some of the best wine I have ever had. No, we did not buy a membership here, but we wanted to do so. Instead, we bought one bottle which is the most expensive bottle of wine we have ever purchased. Saving it for a special occasion, we cannot wait to have it one evening.

A great way to start the day with JenBlossom Cellars, we left and headed to Barons Creek Vineyards. Our fun continued at Barons Creek Vineyards where we had a good person serving us wine and some snacks to tide us over for the day.  Carrie and I took home a couple of bottles from Barons Creek Vineyards and then also ended up for a membership. Carrie said later she did not want to but I was happy on wine and decided to join another club. “That’s how they get you!”. 😀

Our final stop for wine was Safari Winery. A fun location with a good host, but none of us bought any bottles from this location.

Finally to finish out the day we needed food, so we decided on Panda Chinese Restaurant which was some of the best Chinese I have had in a while. Put down a good base so we could head back to the house to play games and enjoy the night.

Monday, July 25

Birthday Boy for a Birthday Fun Weekend The plan today was to stick around the house. Greg and I stayed around the house. The ladies went shopping and then to Augusta Vin to take advantage of our VIP status.  

While it was hot, it was not bad at all outside. I was outside for the morning and majority of the afternoon. Even though I applied sunscreen multiple times, I got burned on my shoulders and back. All good though and well worth it as I had an amazing day celebrating my birthday.

Greg Cooking Steaks on the Grill

After the ladies returned, we all spent time in the pool and then Greg did steaks on the grill. They were so good! We had some difficulty figuring out the Traeger Grill the night we did burgers, but no issues this evening. The steaks came off perfectly cooked and paired nicely with sides and a nice glass of wine. Perfect pairing after spending the day drinking beer around the pool. 

Everyone Around the Dining Room Table Enjoying Dinner

A great way to finish off the long weekend with good food, drink, and fun in the pool. I am the first in our group to turn 50, so I cannot wait to see what the others all plan for their 50 celebrations. I recall some discussion happening between Corrie and Carrie that we might be in California for their 50 celebration. I cannot wait!

Ending our Trip

It was sad to pack up and leave on Tuesday morning. Corrie and Javier had to leave early to get Javier to the airport. We ended up having to take all the wine with us and meeting Javier at the airport as he could not ship his wine from UPS and of course could not check all of it at the airport. Worked out well though as we were able to meet his friend who pick up his wine from us as we passed through Forth Worth, Texas. 

Carrie and John in Vineyard with a Selfie
I invite you to view all pictures from our trip by accessing my Flickr site. I would like to thank Corrie, Javier, Greg, Erin, and Carrie for making my 50th birthday celebration a memorial event. I think I will be talking about this celebration for years to come although I look forward to seeing how the others out do my 50 celebration. Thank you everyone!

Thanks to everyone who called, texted, or spoke to me directly to wish me a happy birthday. It was so fun!

Stats for July Working Out a Little Better Than June

Monthly Workouts Calendar View

I had a lot of times working out for July, but he back-to-back days came while I was on vacation where I worked out daily. Granted, some of those workouts were only for 15 - 20 minutes, but I could sure feel it in my legs towards the end of the end of July after working out every day for a week. It helped me to get up early and stay motivated while on vacation.

It seems like I should have worked out more by working out everyday, but as you can see, the July 1 - 9 I did not work out at all. Thus, I matched my total number of days working out of nine. Overall, I am happy with the number of times working out for July.

Stats from July

Minutes working out are up from June where I worked out a total of 211 minutes compared to 251 minutes working out in July. So, I increased the number of minutes I worked out. I also increased my number of miles traveled from 45.6 to 63 miles traveled during nine workouts in July. I am pretty happy with that number considering I was on vacation and did not work out for the first part of the month.

The largest number is the calories burned that went from 2,272 in June to 3,170 in July. I still have a lot of work to do and I am planning to start Weight Watchers. By watching what I eat, continuing to exercise, and helping to motivate, I hope to be able to soon be talking about considerable weight loss for myself. Of course we are headed into tailgate season which is always tough, but I think I can do it.

A short update on working out for July. I feel good about my numbers from July and hoping to have even better numbers for August.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Short Update for this Week About Time Flying

Just a short update for this week as I am working on an update to outline what we did on our vacation to celebrate my 50th birthday the later part of July. More on that in a later post in August. 

I believe I say it every year, but I cannot believe that July is over. The month, summer, and year are flying by and it only seems to get faster the older I get. The fall semester is getting ready to start as we are preparing the campus for students to return. Seriously, it seems as though the fall semester just started from 2021, but yet, here we are and 2022 fall term is starting. It feels a bit crazy!

Until next time, enjoy the start of August and hopefully the month does not fly by too fast.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

YouTube TV Guide Finally Updated

YouTube TV Guide
After I had almost given up on having my YouTube TV guide update it finally updated. I now have the new guide and it is so much better on the Roku device. I can see what shows we have set to record, information about the show, and overall general improvement with how the guide operates. It took a few months for the update to finally arrive on my YouTube TV guide where Carrie has had it on her profile for a few months. A slow roll out from YouTube TV to users it would appear.

I like the new update and happy to finally have it on my account. It might just be me and my eyes, but the font seems to be a little smaller. I did not find a spot to increase the font, but I think it will be fine the way it works. The guide is not bad in the picture I snapped of it today although it is on a larger TV so it looks good.

Short update for this week and mainly calling out that I finally got the new update. Hopefully we will see more updates and changes from YouTube TV in the future. This was a much needed update just to be able to see what is playing, recording, and read the description without going to the show. 

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Items to Eat to Help Keep Cool in High Temperatures… Just Tastes Good!

What can we do when it is so hot? Our lawn that I had over-seeded last year is slowly turning brown. I attempt to water, but I am not sure it is doing any good. On Friday when doing things in the afternoon, the temperature outside was 102 and I told Carrie heat index was reported as feeling as though it were 109. Yes, one of those days when I walked outside and immediately start sweating. Letting Oliver outside and he immediately starts panting. It is hard to get away from the heat when it is that hot and humid.

We have managed to have some beautiful days the past few weeks even though it is so hot. A few days last week it was in the 80s during the day and dropped down to upper 70s in the evenings. Oliver, Carrie, and I spent a lot of time outside last weekend as it was so nice outside. Hard to not be outside when it is that nice! Enjoy those days when they happen because a day or two later and it is back up in the upper 90s.

I have to admit that when it is hot it really brings back memories for me of being a kid in the summer. I was outside all the time as a kid and I remember the heat. Although I would also be visiting the pool or lake to help cool down which is not something we are doing these days.

Carrie and I have enjoyed visiting Tad’s Shaved Ice in Topeka off of Huntoon. We went there twice last week and it was really good. Carrie also likes Pineapple Dream off of 29th Street. I prefer Tad’s over Pineapple Dream, but they are both good. I like all the options and variety I get with Tad’s. Both places are usually packed when we go in an evening as people are trying to find good places to cool off in the evening. 

While we are finding cool treats to have during the week to cool us down, our yard is starting to go dormant. I enjoy mowing the yard and attempting to take care of our lawn, but the yard is barely growing at this point. Last week when I mowed, I could barely see where I had mowed and where I was going in the front yard as the grass was not as long. The back yard, where we did not over seed a year ago, continues to grown like crazy. A few spots that are just weeds, but the grass in the back is growing much faster than the grass in the front to the point where mowing last Sunday I had to slow down in spots so as not to clog up the mower. I will focus on the back yard this fall to get rid of the weeds and try to get more grass growing in the back. I will probably have to do a bit of that in the front too, but hopefully not as much as I did a year ago.

In case you were wondering, this next week will start off low 90s and then gradually climb to upper 90s and low 100s by the end of the week. Be sure to get out there and get your Tad’s Snow Cones or your Pineapple Dream to help keep yourself cool.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

My Stats for Working Out Slacked a Bit for June

Days Worked out in June
Working out in June was another struggle. Looking back, I only had three of the five full weeks where I worked out multiple times. Two weeks I only worked out once on a Sunday. Getting sick in the middle of June did not help my days for working out (see Exercise Not Happening), so it is easy to understand why it was down a bit. In fact, I think the June 19 or 26 date was not even a bike ride, but meditation to keep my streak going for Peloton working out. One of those days I was sick in bed and not doing much. While it seems infrequent, looking back on May 2022, I only worked out nine times that month too. 

Not a bad track record for June working out considering I was sick for about a week and a half, still, I was hoping to be working out consistently throughout the month. Now, July has started and here we are at day 10 and my working out has not happened much for July either. I plan to get back into it starting Sunday, July 10 with my normal ride time and planning to ride Tuesday and Thursday this week too.

It is so easy to fall out of the routine of working out and so difficult to get back into the swing of it after taking a few days, or weeks, off from doing so. I am happy to report, which I have not done recently, which is that since January 6, 2022 I have lost 14.6 pounds. Weight not exactly flying off, but I am seeing some improvement with my weight. My clothes are fitting better, I feel better than I did back in January, but a long way to go. 
June Monthly Stats

As I look to individual stats from June, they are not horrible, but not great either. Already covered the individual workouts of nine which matches with May workouts. However, at least one, maybe two, are not even bike riding workouts. So, really I am looking at seven workouts for the month of June. Not very good and room to improve for July.

Total minutes of working out at 211 is not great either. Back in May I spent 283 minutes working out, so this is down considerably from May time spent working out. Again, room for improvement for July although so far I am lacking behind total minutes working out. I might need to throw in an hour long, or two workouts, this next week or after to bump those numbers. My plan of incorporating a jog at least once a week has not happened yet either. I do miss running and still hope to get that involved in my workouts possibly in August.

Mile traveled is down too as you would guess. For May I traveled 69 miles during the month long working out routine compared to 45.6 miles traveled for June. Hoping to get that back up and tracking toward triple digits for future months. I will say, the past few months while I was trying to workout for at least 30 minutes, I have found that I have done a number of 20 minute workouts which means I am not working out for as long as say a few months ago or traveling as many miles.

Finally, calories burned is down almost 1,000 from May numbers. Again, not surprising considering I did not work out but only seven times for June where I was riding the bike. 

I do enjoy riding the bike. I look forward to it and enjoy the process. I just need to do more of it and be better about consistent workouts. Stop making excuses and plan for it if I know the week is busy, get up early to work out. Or, move days to another day if I am unable to get a workout in on a planned Tuesday or Thursday. I was doing this a lot early on in the year where I would move days, but the past month or two, if something comes up where I cannot get a workout completed, I simply skip that day. Not good!

I hope your workout routine is going well. If you are on Peloton and would like to workout together, please drop me a line in discussion below. Happy riding and see you on the bike…

Monday, July 04, 2022

Happy July 4! Have a Happy and Safe Holiday!

Happy 4 of July
Have a happy and safe July 4 celebration. It is hard to believe it is another July 4 as the summer is flying by faster than ever. Seems to be the common theme I hear from those I speak to about summer and the year that it is flying by fast. 

While I rarely buy fireworks these days, I do enjoy going to see a fireworks show. Even if it is a show the neighbors are in the street from next door, I enjoy watching fireworks. The whole process brings excitement from watching and on those rare occasions when I do shoot them off, the run to get away before the explosion.

Last year for the holiday, we drove around Kansas checking out camping sites (see Different Kind of 4) which was enjoyable and we were able to get Oliver away from the explosions that scare him to crawl under furniture or behind chairs. Poor little guy, scared of thunder and fireworks which both seem the same to him… loud!

Stay safe and enjoy the July 4 holiday.