Sunday, May 21, 2023

Busy weekend and then got the yard mowed so Oliver can enjoy our back yard again

Tongue Out and Very Sleepy Oliver
Tongue Out and Sleepy Oliver

Busy weekend with things happening both Friday and Saturday evening. It was a busy week too with meetings, a two day conference, and trying to get some lawn work done.

Picture of Oliver to the left is from Saturday as he was very sleepy from being up late on Friday night. He likes to go his kennel which we leave open all the time and never shut him in there any more, but it is his "safe" place when he needs to get away from us and sleep. On Saturday afternoon, he was so sleepy is little tongue came out and stayed out most of the afternoon. When his tongue comes out, you know he is sleepy and likely a bit grumpy too, so give him his space and let him do as he pleases through the day.

Friday started summer hours at work which is nice. Had a work gathering that evening and then already had plans for a trip to Lawrence for dinner. Had fun celebrating graduation by some colleagues as well as outstanding staff award for another colleague. Congrats to them all! I was only able to stay for about an hour before I had to head out to pick up Carrie and head to Lawrence. We went to Merchants Pub & Plate which if you have not been there, I highly recommend a visit. Good drinks and fun with family and friends.

Carrie Reading with Oliver
Carrie Reading with Oliver
Saturday morning Carrie, Oliver, and I all slept later than normal which was nice. Saturday afternoon was so beautiful that Carrie went out and read for a while with Oliver. Oliver loves it as he can watch for people, and dogs, that are walking by and protect our home.

Saturday night we were meeting family for dinner at Blind Tiger and then Soliloquy for drinks. This was my second time to Blind Tiger in the past month or so and once again the food service was very slow. We waited for about 45 minutes for food and had reservations at 8:30 at Soliloquy. The last time I was at Blind Tiger took 45 - 60 minutes for food to be at our table. With no mention it was taking the kitchen either time a long time, this time we could not wait and decided to leave just as it was coming out to the table. Blind Tiger might want to start warning customers if it is going to be 45 minutes plus for food to be ready as that is just too long to wait for food.

We did have some apps while we were waiting for food which was good as that turned out to be the meal for the table. We left and arrived just in time for our 8:30 reservation at Soliloquy. If you have not heard of Soliloquy, be sure to check them out. They are in the same building where Circle Coffee is located, but with Circle Coffee being closed Saturday evening and not open on Sunday, Soliloquy is able to use the space to serve spirits, cocktails, and creating memories with a pop-up place to enjoy some drinks, snacks, and company on Saturday evening. So fun and what a great idea! It was our first time to Soliloquy and we will go back!

Sleepy Oliver Wanting to Know What I am Doing
Sleepy Oliver... Keep 
Those Eyes Open!

After being gone last weekend to Texas and not having mowed the lawn in over two weeks, I had to mow on Sunday. Oliver does not like to go in the yard when the grass touches his belly. He will stand on the cement and do his business on some grass overreaching to the pavement. The only time he will go out in the grass, when it is long, is when there is someone walking with a dog. He forgets and runs out to the corner of our back yard to bark at the dog. Then, you can almost see him realize the grass is touching his belly and he will jog along the fence back toward the back patio where he will sit and watch for the next person to cross the street in back of our house.

Now, he can go in the back yard without blades of grass touching his belly. I got the lawn mowed, trimmed, and I used the blower to get other yard stuff away from the house. Oliver is set for another week in our back yard.

I trust you had a great weekend and hopefully you were able to enjoy the nice weather we had this weekend here in Kansas. Hoping we have some more nice days to come before it gets hot. Until next time, have a great week!

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Quick update on our trip to Texas last week with fun in Houston to celebrate friends graduation...

Drinking Beer in Houston, TX

We flew down to Dallas, TX last Thursday which is the reason there was not an update on Sunday per usual. We went down to celebrate a graduation for our friend Corrie's son. We flew down to Dallas and then drove with Javier to Houston, TX where the party would take part. We had a great time! The weather was good with some rain, but it did not deter from the fun we had while in Houston. We even got some pool time in before the celebration on Saturday night. 

You will not be surprised that I did not get many pictures from the graduation party but we came away with some good memories and enjoyed spending time with our friends.

Cooper and Carrie Belly Rub Time

The last time we were in Houston was back in December for New Years and at that time we had our dog, Oliver, who joined us. The picture to the right is Cooper and Carrie with Cooper getting a belly rub. I am pretty sure that Cooper was happy Oliver was no where around his house.

A quick trip flying down Thursday and then heading back on Sunday. Our flight Thursday morning left at 7:30 am and then the return flight was scheduled for 8:20 but ended up being later which got us home to Topeka around 11:30 Sunday night. 

Short trip but a large time was had in Texas. It was good to fly down this time instead of driving which we have done the last few visits to Texas, but I also like taking my dog with me when we travel, so he was missed.

I did not get this posted on Sunday, or Monday, as I was exhausted after our trip and went to bed early Monday night. Finally feeling back to normal after traveling and a lot of fun.

Until next time, have a great week!

Sunday, May 07, 2023

Hammock Time, Coffee, Reading, Yard Work, and Preparing for a Busy Week. How Was your Weekend?

Carrie Enjoying Hammock Tuesday Evening
Carrie in the Hammock

What wonderful weather we have had the past few weeks. Carrie has spent most evenings in our hammock with the nice weather. Oliver is usually close by or in the hammock with her. The picture to the right was taken Tuesday evening with a wonderful evening after we had been out to eat that evening, we got home, and Carrie went straight for the hammock. 

We did see the temperatures increase from 70's up to mid-90's on Saturday and Sunday. I mowed the last Sunday morning before it got too hot, but it will still pretty warm. 

Oliver and Carrie Outside of Salut
Oliver and Carrie Outside Salut

Thursday night, we went to an awards ceremony for Carrie's work where they awarded medals to Bonner graduates. It was a fun evening to hear from Bonner graduates. After it was done, we went to Salut to have a drink on their patio. We took Oliver as he had been home all by himself for most of the day. He had so much fun sitting on the patio as people were leaving and arriving to Salut, they would ask if they could pet him, and he went crazy. He loves attention especially when it is from someone other than Carrie and I. Between guests arriving/leaving, he would look through the window at the people inside with a look on his face as though he did not understand why they were not outside seeing him or he was not inside with them. Funny guy!

Coffee, Breakfast, and Reading at Circle Coffee
Coffee and Reading at Circle Coffee
Saturday was a low key day for us with some errands in the morning and breakfast, coffee, and reading at Circle Coffee. We love it at Circle Coffee and spent almost two hours there drinking coffee, reading, and chatting.  It was a good day doing some housework when we got home in the afternoon. We grilled pork steaks along with some Brussels sprouts that we did all on the grill. Turned out great! We decided to have our bottle of wine we bought while in Miami the day we returned from our cruise. Wonderful evening hanging out and enjoying. Even though it was warm, it was not bad sitting outside as we grilled.

I mentioned I mowed this morning and spending the afternoon preparing for the week. Looking forward to a busy week and I will catch up with you next week.

Have a great week!


Sunday, April 30, 2023

Weekend update with hammock time, Oliver enjoying sun/dirt, and going to the theater... Yard work the plan for Sunday afternoon... It is a good weekend!

Me Relaxing in the Hammock and Oliver Relaxing in the Sun and Dirt
Me in Hammock... Oliver in Sun/Dirt

Busy weekend with events Friday evening and then up early Saturday morning. Still, made time to relax in the hammock outside with Oliver. However, he found a nice spot in the yard with good sunlight and a patch of dirt. I will say, that is the only patch of dirt in the back yard, but he finds it and hangs out there any chance he gets.

Friday night we celebrated Carrie's birthday with her family. Yes, her birthday was a few weeks ago, but this was the first time we had to get together as a family to celebrate. Had a wonderful time at The Weather Room. Good drinks, food, and company was good to celebrate her birthday. A perfect ending to the week which seemed like a long week for some reason. I realized that we did not get any pictures Friday night so again I am trying to improve on taking pictures and capturing moments, but still thinking of it after the fact in most cases.

Saturday morning I was up early to attend an event on the Washburn campus for the new law building. Helped to make sure everything was working properly for the meeting being held in the still being constructed law building. It went off without a hitch.

Carrie went to auditions from 1 - 4 pm on Saturday and should hear on a part by Monday. So excited she is auditioning for plays. Hoping she gets a part so I can see Carrie on the stage again.

Saturday night, we were at Topeka Civic Theater to watch The Crucible. Had a fun time at the theater and the play was good. The last time I saw "The Crucible" was probably twenty years ago with Eddie was in the play. The cast did a good job although at the end it felt like it was anticlimactic as this play just ended and the cast came out on the stage. When Eddie was in the play, the end was intense with the sound of those being accused being hung. I still remember that feeling and we talked about it as we left the play last night. Still, the cast did a good job last night and we had a great time.

Sunday is a day to catch up again in the lawn. Need to mow again today and do some clean up from winter with limbs, leaves, etc. Should be a slow Sunday which is good as we prepare for another week. This week Carrie has her Bonner Event Thursday night that she is getting ready for and I plan to attend with her. 

Until next time, have a great week!

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Mowing the lawn, looking at camp sites, a visit to site of parents cabin, and remembering past fun at Lone Star Lake cabin

Yard Work Done and Burning Limbs
Mowed Lawn and Fire Pit

First time to mow for the year and decided to do some limb cleanup too. Goal for the year is to stay ahead of limbs and not have a huge pile at the end of the season that needs to be hauled off. I have been burning for about four hours so far today as I started after I had finished the front and had just started mowing the back when I decided to start burning. Carrie was giving me grief saying that need to keep the limbs for camping, but where we camp, there are a lot of limbs or we can just buy firewood. Plus, we will have more limbs down that is a guarantee. 

Oliver stayed outside with me for most of the burning today although he just went inside as I think he is a sleep and needs an afternoon nap. Poor guy! He likes to help and watch what I am doing when I am outside. He also loves to watch for people walking along the street and run out to bark at them. So, we have a party while we are outside working in the back yard and Oliver is the leader of the other neighborhood dogs making sure to alert the others when there is something to bark at.

On Saturday, we decided to drive around and look at camp sites and we started at Clinton Lake which is just outside of Lawrence, KS. We found some good spots we are hoping to be able to do here soon. A lot more camp sites than I was thinking from when I would go out to Clinton Lake. However, way back when I was going there, it was not to camp, but to boat, so camp sites was not something I was paying attention to at the time. We found some good spots that Carrie wrote down in her notes.

Lone Star Lake from 2014
Cabin at Lone Star 2014
After Clinton Lake, we drove out to Lone Star Lake where my parents had a cabin for many years. Again, I did not realize that Lone Star Lake had camp sites, but we found some good spots that we plan to check out this summer. The early months of May and June are already filling up with events for us, so hoping to be able to get at least one camping trip, maybe two, in there somewhere within May or June.

While we were at Lone Star Lake, we did stop by to look at the lot where my parents had their cabin. I spent many a day out at the cabin when I was little, growing up, and even after Carrie and I were married, we spent time out at the cabin. I had not been to look at the cabin, or land, since it was sold in 2015 or so. The people who bought it have done amazing things with the land. Still the same structure for the cabin, but modernized as far as I can tell from the outside. I could tell it was the same base with a rock structure, but they completely redid the outside siding, new deck, and made the drive much better. A new dock was nice too that was covered, had a lift to lift their boat out, and good swimming area. It looked really nice which was good to see. It did bring back a flood of memories of spending so much time out at Lone Star.

I did not take any pictures while we were at the old spot of my parents cabin, but there were a lot of memories of the good times had when we would go there. I also remember all the work that it took and I only did a small portion of the work with my Dad and Mom doing most of the work. Cleaning, getting ready for parties, mowing, and the list goes on and on. I appreciate all the work my parents did to keep the cabin so we could go to it for all of those years.

It has been a fun weekend and on that I will end this update. Have a great week!

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Happy Birthday Cruise to Carrie on Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady April 9 - 14, 2023... Highly Recommend Virgin Voyages!

Window Seat for Early Morning Flight to Miami, FL
Sunrise From Flight
Carrie and I left for a cruise on Saturday, April 8. We booked our cruise a few months ago to celebrate Carrie turning 50. We decided on a Virgin Voyages cruise as we had a few friends who had been on the cruise and said it was great.

Our fight left at 5:18 in the morning. We got a hotel near the airport for the night before, but we still had to be at the airport by 4 am. It was great to be able to see the new MCI airport although nothing was open when we were there, or when we returned, but it is nice to have one spot to depart and arrive for the airport.

We flew into Miami and had a hotel for Saturday night, so we did a tour of Little Havana where we had a guided tour to eat, drink, and see the area. It was so fun! We had a great tour guide that was from the area. Delicious coffee, drinks, and food, plus hearing about the area was so interesting. We had a great time before we headed to our hotel.

Carrie and John at Kempton Hotel in Miami
From Balcony in Miami, FL
We had a wonderful evening in Miami where we head a balcony looking out over the inlet to the ocean with so much activity of boats, I could have spent all day watching boats entering and leaving to the ocean. It was so cool! We had reservations at The River Oyster Bar which was walking distance from our hotel which was perfect. We of course had to order oysters and they were delicious. We had six different kinds, I believe, and they were all delicious. The drinks, appetizers, and meals were good too. We really liked The River Oyster Bar and our time spent in and around Miami. 

Disembarkment for Virgin Cruise
Leaving on a Cruise
Finally, Sunday, we were ready to leave for the cruise. We were so excited to be leaving on a cruise that Carrie shouted out to the crowd gathered how excited she was to be leaving. The boarding process for Virgin Voyages was so easy as we were on the ship and had our first drink minutes after boarding. There was a guy in line with us that might have been more excited than Carrie, but it was close. He was singing and giving high fives to the staff as we were heading up the stairs. We think he had done three or four Virgin Voyages before this one as he knew everyone.

Bar We Spent Some Time at Each Day of the Cruise
Bar We Visited Each Day

We visited the Sip Bar each of the days on the cruise. Drinks were great and the bartenders worked their butts off while helping to keep everyone happy and drink in hand. We did go to the Sip Bar each day we were on the cruise. We were sad one night when they closed at 11:30 instead of midnight, but the two bartenders were going to staff party.

There were only two ports being visited on the five day cruise. Carrie and I decided we were going to remain on the ship for the first visit. We had a wonderful time going through the ship, spending time at the pool, and enjoying the ship without it being crowded. We almost did this again the second port day, but decided we should at least say we had been to the Bahamas and put our toes in the sand. It was tempting to not remain on the boat and enjoy the spaces without the people.

Virgin Voyage Hola on side of the Ship
Hola on Side of Ship

We did take a catamaran the first port day which was in the evening which was a lot of fun. The margaritas were not great on the catamaran, but the beer was cold and all part of the voyage. As we returned, I was able to capture a picture of ship with 'HOLA' on the side lit up in lights. While we were on the catamaran, I was able to see some fish "floating on the air" which I had only ever seen on the internet. They were all over the place on the first hour out to the open water along the shore. The way back, I only saw one fly along the top of the water. It was fun and the crew did a good job keeping us entertained and drinks in hand.

Dinner at "The Wake"
Dinner at "The Wake". So good!

We had dinner at just about all the places to eat aboard ship. One of our favorites was dinner at "The Wake". Our seats were in front of the window showing the wake of the boat which was incredible. The meal was good and our waiter was great allowing us use our own bottle of wine and not charge a corking fee. Thank you! 

"The Wake", "The Test Kitchen", and "Gunbae" were my favorites. Least favorite was "Extra Virgin" which was Italian, but it was just OK for me. Main complaint was they were out of all of their wines except for one.

The bars on board were good and we frequented a few of them. It would be nice if only beer is being ordered that would not have to wait for those getting blender drinks, but overall, we had a great time and enjoyed our time onboard. We met so many wonderful people even having dinner with some of them one night. 

Sunset on Catamaran Boat
Sunset from Catamaran

We liked our cruise so much that we put a payment on a future cruise that we get ship credit for and then have to book it within the next two years. I look forward to another trip and to sailing again on Virgin Voyages. It will be fun to see another ship and make new memories to new destinations. 

When we returned to Miami on Sunday morning, we had a cabana reserved for us at a local hotel. We spent the day Poolside at Surfcomber as our flight back to Kansas City did not leave until 9 pm Sunday night. Worked out great as we were able to nap, eat, drink, and be in the pool. It was really a fun spot and once again our waiter took great care of us while we were there.

I am happy that we were able to celebrate the 50th birthday for Carrie doing a cruise. We both had a wonderful time and look forward to cruising again. It had been eleven years since we had last been on a cruise and this did not disappoint. Happy Birthday, Carrie!

See full photo album on Flickr.

Sunday, April 09, 2023

Happy Easter!

Photo by Jill Wellington:
Praise Be! Happy Easter! A beautiful morning. I used to always like Easter egg hunting when I was a kid. I think of all the kids doing that annual hunting this morning. I also enjoyed coloring the eggs. The whole process from preparing the different colors, the process of dipping the eggs, to eating the finished product after we had found all of the eggs. A little vinegar, salat and pepper, and all mixed up in a bowl, it was so good! Sometimes do this routine during the year when looking for an easy meal, but always seemed even better on Easter.

Have a wonderful day and an even better week! Short holiday update today.