Sunday, October 01, 2023

"9 to 5 The Musical", Solilquy Bar, Preparing for KBBF, and Summary of Prior Week

Sleepy Oliver After Supper
Sleepy Oliver
It was a busy week for me with a conference I attended in Kansas City Monday - Wednesday. I made the decision to drive in each day instead of getting a hotel room in Kansas City for the conference. Made for long days the first part of this week, but it was a good conference with good connections being made. Tuesday night when I got home from the conference, Oliver was very sleepy and plopped down in his bed to do some serious sleeping. I decided to head to bed early that night too and went to bed at 9:30.

The rest of the week flew by and was catch up for me at work after attending the conference. Short week next week for me as I will be taking personal leave to head to Helena, AR for the King Biscuit Blues Festival. I leave Wednesday and then back the following Sunday. Looking forward to another KBBF and seeing everyone at the festival. Carrie was planning to go but decided she would not make it this year. Javier will be there and we will work the main stage at the KBBF.

Saturday night, Carrie and I went to see 9 to 5 The Musical at Topeka Civic Theater. We had a fun time joining Greg and Erin for the play. Prior to the play, we met at The Pennant for a quick dinner and drinks before heading to the play. It was a fun evening. The musical was good and it was the first play we had been to in a while. It was good to be back at Topeka Civic Theater.

Soliloquy Bar Drinks
Drink at Solilquy Bar
Following the play, Carrie and I decided to stop by Soliloquy Bar where we sat on the patio and had a few drinks. One of the drinks I ordered came out and was lit on fire. Another drink Carrie and I shared had liquid nitrogen that cooled down the glass, they then threw out the nitrogen which was cool to see the nitrogen hit on the ground. Our server was one of the owners, so we chatted with him for a bit and talked about the cool places to get drinks in Topeka and Lawrence.

On the Patio at Solilquy Bar
On the Patio at Solilquy Bar

Beautiful evening Saturday night to sit on the patio which was nice. The patio was busy when we arrived around 10:30 and then by the time I took the picture to the left, it had cleared out. The owner told us that they have a soft close of midnight which was something Carrie and I were wondering about as we sat on the patio listening to music and how the neighbors next door react to the traffic, music, etc.

It is now Sunday as I finish up this update and I am sitting here watching football. Both of my fantasy football teams are not off to very good starts. Hoping to get two wins this week with my two teams and bounce back. Also out there are my fantasy baseball teams which are not doing well either. Still, it is fun to follow players and make changes to try and win each week.

That is about all for today. Have a great week and I will talk to you next time.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Start of Fall is Here Along with Tailgating, Football, and Thinking Back to 12 Years Ago When We Brought Oliver Home

Wreath on Front Porch
Wreath on Front Porch

Saturday marked the start of fall for 2023. Carrie made a new wreath for our front porch combining some older wreathes we had and it turned out great! Perfect wreath for the fall season. Beautiful weather to start the season which I hope sticks around as it is beautiful. We got ready to head to the tailgate for Washburn football.

As we were getting the car loaded and ready to head to the tailgate, the weather was a cool 72 degrees. It felt amazing! We ran to the store to get some snacks for the game and it felt warmer outside of the store, but it really was not bad for the tailgate or once the game started.

Selfie at the Tailgate in Our Spot
Selfie at Our Spot
We were a little late getting out to our spot as there was a line at Circle Coffee that went out the door. Good problem to have for Circle Coffee. Carrie got some coffee and a scone for us to share.  Parked in our spot and started enjoying the day. A nice cool breeze was blowing which kept it nice through most of the game and there was some cloud cover too. It was really nice! Caught up with friends, found out our friends, Burgs, were family of the year and would be honored. Chatted with Jeremy and Julie for a bit and Julie slipped in that they were family of the year. Too funny!

Band and Cheerleaders Getting the Fans Motivated
Washburn Cheer Team

Tuba Players from Washburn Band
Tuba Players Doing Their Thing

Whole Band Marching Through Tailgate Area
Whole Band Going Through TailGate

The Washburn Team Enters the Stadium
Washburn Team Enters Stadium

A fun time pre-game and the weather remained nice throughout until about the fourth quarter. Then the sun came out and it got a little warm. Plus the breeze stopped and we were not playing well. We lost the game 58 - 28. We were in the game the first half, but fell apart in the second half.  That puts us at 1 - 3 on the season. A lot of work to do. The first half we relied almost entirely on the rushing game. Second half, because we had to change, we changed over to the passing game but it was too late. There was not recovering.

Matt and John Watching the Game
Matt and John Watching Washburn

Our friend, Matt, stopped by and watched the game with us. Always good to see Matt and this was his first game to attend of the season. Chatted a little about the rushing vs passing game. Always good to catch up with Matt during football games. He lives close to Washburn, so he left about the start of the fourth quarter when it was really out of hand and no way we were going to come back to win let alone make it close.

We are away next week when we play University of Nebraska at Kearney and then we are back home on October 7 against Missouri Western State University. I will miss the next home game as I will be out of town. I thought I had checked and I would not miss, but realized yesterday as we were driving home from the game that I would miss the next home game. Seems to happen every year, but oh well.

Following getting home from the long day of tailgating and football, I slept for a while and did not leave the house. It takes it out of me to tailgate and cheer on a team. Plus, I had to get ready for Sunday football, so it was a quiet evening for us.

Oliver Joined our Family 12 Years Ago Today
Oliver Joined our Family 9/24/2011
In non-football related news, 12 years ago to this day (September 24, 2011), we brought home a little fur ball that was full of energy and made us laugh. Twelves years later and Oliver is still making us laugh. I am so happy we made that trip to see dogs at the pet store. We came away with our bundle of joy that keeps us still laughing to this day.

I hope you have a great rest of your Sunday and a wonderful weekend. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Anniversary weekend in Lawrence, KS celebrating 21 years of marrige with eating, drinking, and having fun in Lawrence

Free State Patio
Free State Patio

Carrie and I are celebrating our 21 wedding anniversary on September 21. We decided to celebrate early by getting a room at the Eldridge in Lawrence, KS. We picked this weekend to celebrate based on KU football being away and Washburn playing at home on Saturday, September 23 this was the best selection for our celebration.

Patio Time at Free State Brewery
Selfie on Free State Patio
We stayed two nights coming in on Friday afternoon. We have had a wonderful time eating and drinking up and down Mass Street. Friday night we decided to play it by ear and see where the night took us. We started off a Free State Brewery where we sat on the patio where we could enjoy the true spirit of drinking beer on the patio. 

Bar at 715
Bar at 715
Following our time on the patio, we made our way to 715 for a drink or a few drinks. We hung out at 715 for a while before we headed to The Mad Greek which has been a favorite of ours for years. 

Saturday morning we slept a little later than we were planning but we were out the door by 10 am. We went to 1900 Barker on Mass which is a coffee and breakfast spot. We out there for a while eating breakfast and enjoying coffee. It was a good spot and I would go back!

Art in the Park and Popcorn of Course!
Art in the Park and Popcorn

Following breakfast, we walked to the park for Art in the Park where we wandered around and bought a lot of earrings (5 sets), so I think Carrie is set for a while. I tease, but happy she finds them at art shows. It was a good way to wish her a happy anniversary by finding earrings at Art in the Park.

As we were walking back to our hotel, we decided to stop into Louise's Bar Downtown where we stayed for a while watching Missouri beat Kansas State. Had a fun time at the bar and watching the people.

Sunset with Storm Clouds Moving Through
Picture from our Hotel Room
We had planned to have dinner Saturday night at 715 on their patio, but it was forecast to rain in the evening, so we decided to try a new spot for us. We went to Mass Street Fish House and Raw Bar. We enjoyed our time and had a good dinner. I would go back! I know it has been on Mass Street for a while, but it was the first time we had been there.

After dinner, we down to the Wine Dive for a drink or two and then over to Merchants Pub and Plate. We have eaten at both spots, so we just wanted to stop by for a drink and get ready for our reservations John Brown Underground

We had reservations at John Brown Underground for 10:45. Drinks were really good but I could not tell you their names. It was a fun spot and it did feel like I was in a speakeasy. We had great seats at the bar and they took good care of us.

Lunch at Ramen Bowl
Ramen Bowls for Lunch

Sunday morning we were moving a little slow and slept late. We at Ramen Bowls on Mass. Delicious and perfect for helping with a little bit of a hangover. 

We had a great time on our extended weekend in Lawrence. Oliver had a blast staying at my Mom's along with my sister Dina. We were all so tired when we got home that we all took naps and went to bed a little early.

So happy to spend our 21 anniversary in Lawrence and to spend it on Mass Street with the love of my life. Happy anniversary, Carrie! I cannot wait to see what we do next year.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Tough Thursday Night for Washburn and Chiefs Plus First Home Soccer Game and Other Ramblings...

Football Officially Kicked Off with First Home Game Thursday Night
Tailgating Spot

Officially it feels like fall with the start of home football games at Washburn University. Thursday night started the home schedule for Washburn and it was a beautiful night. It also happened to be the first game of the season for the Kansas City Chiefs. We had a new spot to park our car, so Carrie took a picture of me in front of our car in our new spot. Much better location as it is directly in front of where we tailgate which will be nice for unloading, packing up, and having the car right there if needed.

Washburn football started the week prior on the road at Pitt State losing 34 - 7. Granted, Pitt State is ranked #4 so it was a tough game. We then played our first home game of the season against Missouri Southern and while it was close, we lost the game 30 - 23. We had a chance to win the game going down to the wire, but turned it over and it was all over.

Washburn Stadium on Thursday Night
Washburn Stadium
The weather was perfect for the first game of the season. It was good to catch up with friends who were tailgating and had not seen since the last game of the season last year. The tailgate started at 4 pm although Carrie and I both worked until 5 and got out there about 5:15 or so. Could not have asked for a better evening for tailgating and football.

Washburn is now 0 - 2 to start the season and we are on the road for our next game. We need to get a W on the road to get our first win of the season and put us back on track.

Beautiful Sky Did Not Help the Chiefs
Beautiful Skies Did Not Help Chiefs
The same night Washburn was playing, the Kansas City Chiefs were playing. Kickoff for the Chiefs was a little later, so I was able to watch the end of the game after we got home. We were without Travis Kelce for the Chiefs game and it showed with KC losing 21 - 20 and starting the season 0 - 1. The last time the Kansas City Chiefs started 0 - 1 was in 2014 when we lost our season opener to the Tennessee Titans 26 - 10. We have only started the season 0 - 2 once in our history (1977) and I am hoping we do not repeat that this year. I have faith we will bounce back and get the next win. The rumor is that Kelce will return for week two, but we are a week out, so probably a little early, but feeling confident.

After two loses for my teams Thursday night, we went to the Washburn Women's Soccer game on Friday night. We had a good crowd for the home opener for Women's Soccer and we won 4 - 0. I am hoping to make it to more soccer games this year as we only went to one last year and it was toward the end of the season. The same night Washburn Volleyball played too which we also plan to get to some games this season.

I would be remiss not to mention that Kansas Football won Friday night. I was unable to watch most of the game, but I was tracking on my phone. Good start for KU and it is going to be fun to see how the rest of their season progresses.

Today is Sunday and although Chiefs played Thursday, I am looking forward to watching games throughout the day. I have had YouTube TV for a few years now and now that YouTube TV owns the rights to Sunday Ticket, I bought the package so I can watch all of the NFL games. Much to the dismay of Carrie, I will be able to watch football all day long. 

Enjoy your Sunday and have a great week! Until next time, happy sport watching...

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Labor Day Weekend, Football Games Have Started, Oliver Enjoying the Sun, and Trying to Find Another Camping Date

Sun Set On the Ocean is Fitting for End of Summer
Although classes started a few weeks ago, Labor Day weekend always seem to signal the end of summer. We will see the temperatures continue to drop which is a welcome change from the 100 degree weather we have experienced over the summer. The weather really has not been that bad over the summer though with rather mild temperatures and only a couple of weeks where we broke 100 degrees. Still, as we look to summer coming to an end, football is starting from college teams to the NFL starting this next week.

I participated in two fantasy drafts the past two weeks for my two fantasy teams that I play each year. It is a good time and makes it fun to follow the games having players I need/want to play well so that my fantasy team does well. Sometimes this can be difficult if I have draft a player on a team I do not like, or follow, but I need to have the player do well so my team does well.

As the days continue to get shorter, football is starting, and it seems more events are packed into the weekends, I am wondering when Carrie and I will be able to go camping again. We have only been twice this year and I am hopeful we can fit in at least one more time to go camping before it gets cold. I know we do not want to go late in the season as we did last year going at the end of October and camping in 32 degree weather. While it was fun during the day, the nights were cold and I am not sure we would do it again with it that cold.

Going back to football, if you are looking to get involved with NFL games, I enjoy doing Pig Skin Pick'em which I have been doing for a few years now. Again, it makes it fun to follow the games and try to pick the winners each week. It is free and easy to participate. Go to the Pig Skin Pick'em site and the password to join is "haverty". Feel free to share with others and see if you can beat me in picking the winners each week. Make sure to go back each week to make your picks!

Join Pig Skin Pick'em with password of "haverty" to make NFL picks each week.

I am writing this on Sunday afternoon while watching the Royals play. I know tomorrow we will be grilling to enjoy the holiday. We went to the store on Saturday to pick up groceries for the week. We picked up chicken breasts to grill one night and then we also picked up Scallops to do on the grill along with some shrimp to do one night on the grill. I am excited to try Scallops although we are not sure if we are doing those Monday or not. We might do the chicken, but it will be a decision tomorrow, but I am researching recipes for doing Scallops on the Big Green Egg. I cannot wait!

Oliver in the Back Yard Enjoying the Sun

As the warm days come to an end, I know one little dog who will miss being able to go outside and sit in the hot sun. The picture to the right was of Oliver in our back yard from a few weeks ago when the temperatures here in Topeka were above 100 degrees for a week straight. He loved it and would sit out in the yard directly in the sun. I would have to call him to get him to come inside and even then he really did not want to leave the sun to come inside. We are guessing that he is cold when he is in the house because of the air conditioning. So, he will be sad to see the days get colder and eventually snow on the ground and he will be shivering on our couch while we try to keep him warm. Poor guy!

I hope you have a great rest of your Labor Day weekend and a great week!

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Spare Ribs on the Big Green Egg with Recipe and Pictures from My Experience

Spare Ribs Prepped and Ready to go on the Grill
Spare Ribs Prepped and Ready

To continue what I was cooking last weekend (see last weeks post), I did spare ribs on Sunday. My first time doing spare ribs and probably my fifth or sixth time trying ribs in general. The past attempts had provided tough, dry, and dry ribs. I was not sure how this would go, but I used a recipe I found on Big Green Egg Forum and combined with another recipe I found on The BBQ Buddha

I started out planning to do the recipe from the forum which is referred to on the forum as Micky's Turbo Ribs. This recipe consists of the following:

  • 350 indirect for 1hr 40 min. 
  • Before cooking: Pull membrane, mustard, and add rub. 
  • Put on at 350 and leave the alone for about that time. 

Although as I was getting started, I found another recipe that I thought would work better for the large slabs of meat I had to cook for the day.

I completely changed over to using The BBQ Buddha recipe which calls for grill to be at 350 degrees on indirect cooking. Preheated the BGE to 350 degrees while I prepared the meat, rub, and the spritz.

  1. Trim fat, pull membrane, remove flap meat, and prepare for mustard and rub.
  2. Slather with mustard as a binder for the rub.
  3. The rub consists of salt, pepper, and paprika
  4. Leave the ribs untouched on the BGE for one hour without opening the lid. After one hour, start spritzing. Springs consists of the following.
    • 1 cup of apple juice
    • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
    • A few dashes of hot sauce
    • A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  5. Begin spritzing with the spray every 30 minutes until done.
  6. I set a timer and checked the ribs every 30 minutes spraying with the above spritz.
  7. At the 3 hour mark, I checked to see if I could see the bones sticking out or how the meat would bend when I picked up with the tongs. Good indication the meat is done. I did leave on for another 30 - 40 minutes continuing the spritz.
  8. Pull the ribs when they are done. Let rest before cutting them up. I applied BBQ sauce after I cut them up and while I ate the ribs.
Ribs After One Hour Cooking Untouched
Ribs After One Hour

While I had planned to do Micky's Turbo Ribs when I started, I think changing over to the The BBQ Buddha worked out well for me. I do not think the large spare rib racks would have cooked as needed with Micky's Turbo Ribs recipe, so I am glad I changed over to the other recipe just as I was starting to prep. It was a game time decision to change over to the other recipe.

The spare ribs were so large that they did not really fit on the grill. You might not be able to tell, but the ribs are laying on top of one another in the picture to the left. Meat hanging off of the edge of the grill on all four corners, but it seemed to work. After an hour I was spritzing the meat lifting the top layer and getting moisture to the second rack. 

Spare Ribs After About 90 minutes of cooking split up to two layers
Spare Ribs Split Up to Levels

After about 90 minutes of cooking, I was able to add a second level and put each rack of ribs on their own level. I thought this would help to evenly cook both racks of meat. The rack that was on the bottom the first 90 minutes of cooking, I put on the top rack. After the first hour, i was spritzing as I mentioned and then after 90 minutes, I split up the two racks and continued the spritz on both racks.

After about two hours, I started checking the ribs by picking them up with the tongs to see how they felt. Continued the spritz, but kept them on for another hour and half or so going by touch of how they looked and felt with the tongs.

Ribs Are Done and Ready to Cut Up and Eat
Ribs are Done!

Pulled them when I could see bend in the ribs and bones were exposed. Let them rest for 15 - 20 minutes before I started to cut them up. Sampled some of the meat as I cut them up and tasted good. I realized after the fact I did not take any pictures of the cut up meat, but that will be for next time when I try this again.

The meat tasted good. Depending on the meat, I had some that the meat fell off of the bone and others that were a little tough. I think this could have to do with whether it was the meat on the top or bottom to start the cook. I did have someone recommend in the r/biggreenegg post I did about my cook that they recommend using skewer to fit more on to the grill. Of course others recommended using racks to fit more on to the grill, but others, including The BBQ Buddha, do not like to use racks. I certainly had an issue where the meat was too large to fit on the grill for two of them. It created a lot of food to eat, but it was a little difficult to work with the meat on the grill. I think I will try the skewer the next time I try ribs.

I had a fun time throughout the weekend doing different cooks. I really enjoyed the wings that I did and had those for leftovers for days. I want to do wings again and I plan to do ribs again too with some of the adjustments I listed above for the next time I do ribs. I had a fun time doing all of my cooks while Carrie was out of town and now to do some cooking while she is back home and can help me to enjoy what I cook.

Until next time, have a great week and I will talk to you next week.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Cooking on Big Green Egg, Carrie in Houston, and Looking Forward to Smoking Ribs Sunday Night

Flank Steak and Fried Potatoes
Flank Steak and Fried Potatoes

Carrie is in Houston for the weekend so it is my time to grill as much as I can. Unlike last year when she was gone, I did not plan out all kinds of things to cook. Instead, I am using things I find in the freezer although I did go to the store on Saturday to pick up some things. More on that later.

To start, I did a flank steak with fried potatoes. The flank steak was in our freezer and I took it out of the freezer Friday at noon to thaw out. Turned out good slightly pink. The potatoes were some that we had on a shelf in our kitchen and we must have had them for a while as there were a few rotten ones in bag that about made me lose my appetite. Overall, it turned out great! I did this on Friday night for dinner and I did not eat it all. I meant to eat leftovers on Saturday, but that did not happen.

Saturday morning I had a haircut in the morning, so I went to Circle Coffee afterwards where I spent an hour or so reading and planning out what I would be cooking Saturday night. I decided on wings as I had not done those on the Big Green Egg

Wings Put on the Grill and Ready to Cook
Wings on the Grill
The recipe I found for wings worked out well. Fairly easy consisted of patting the wings dry, salt, and baking powder for a brine that I let sit for a few hours through the afternoon in the fridge. I set the Big Green Egg at 350 - 400 degrees and put the wings on the grill with indirect heat. They cooked for about 40 minutes before I removed from the grill and put them in a bowl where I added Louisiana Hot Sauce coating the wings entirely before putting the wings back on the grill for another 10 - 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Wings Off of the Grill and Ready to Eat
Wings Ready to Eat
Yes, I made a lot of wings. They come in packs to feed a family, so I bought almost 4 lbs of wings. Luckily, they turned out good and I ate about half. I plan to have them for lunch today.

When the wings were ready, I did not time things right as I bought a bag of steak fries to go with the wings. Took a little while for the fries to finish in the oven but finally had them out and I was ready to eat. 

Plated with fries and Ranch
Ready to Eat
Turned out well with a lot of food leftover.  Of course I had to have Ranch to go with the wings. I like how they turned out with a little crunch on the skin in some spots and then the sauce was good as it gave them a kick. I might have let them be on the grill after they were sauced for a bit too long, but grilling is always a learning experience, so next time I will do them only for another 5 - 10 minutes.

Tonight I am planning to do ribs. We have had two slabs of ribs in our freezer for a long time. It was a mistake when we ordered back in 2020 from Wal-Mart where they changed out what we had requested for two slabs or ribs. I have been wanting to try out ribs for a while, so I am excited to try them out tonight. I will leave the cook tonight for another post.

Until next time, have a great Sunday and a wonderful week!