Sunday, November 29, 2020

Thanksgiving Turkey with Pictures and my Experience

This was posted on the Big Green Egg Forum too at

Had a fun two days preparing for Thanksgiving. Nothing special, but did a turkey back-to-back days. I used the same process on both. A pecan seasoning we got from our local BGE store a year ago which is really good. We used it all up and I forgot to get the exact name, but I know our local store carries it, so I will go back to get some more.

Both turkeys were about 12 lbs. I did the first one on Wednesday after I got home from work. Sprinkled the pecan seasoning all over the turkey. Stuffed it with celery, carrots, and apples. Pretty simple, but it worked out well. I put it on the BGE with a raised rack. Cooked about 2.5 to 3 hours. It turned out good, but a little black on the top. No pictures from this one cook, but the meat tasted good. Nice and moist but a little black on the top.

For the second cook, yesterday, I did not use the raised grill and kept the bird down a lower. Again, this was another about 12 lb turkey and cooked it for 2.5 to 3 hours. Lower gave it a nice color on the outside. Used the same seasoning and stuffed it with everything we did the day before except for apples.... we ran out.

Pre-picture before going on the grill. Had it in a pan to catch drippings for gravy. Some onions, celery, and chicken broth in the pan. Did this for the turkey the day before too although did not keep it filled throughout the entire cook. Started it off to give a little moisture and basically to catch drippings.

Had to get a picture of my dog helping me with the lookout. He wears himself out going in and out of the house with me anytime I grill. He gets very excited each time I grab the lump to take out and start getting ready.

While it was cooking, did not open the lid at all. Let it cook and trusted the process as I have seen on here many times. Target temp was 325 which it went to immediately for this cook. In the cook the day before, I had a difficult time getting the temp up to 325. Odd how some days I go to cook and it is easy to get high temp and other days it is difficult.

I think it came off looking really good. Better than the one the day before. It had one of those temperature pop-out sticks in it. My wife pulled it before I snapped the picture. I was pleased with how it looked as a final product.

A final picture of everything on the table. Made a lot of turkey this year as we were giving it out to my family as we were social distancing and sharing food with one another. We made the turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy for us and shared it with everyone else too making plates for them and delivered on my in-laws driveway about 3:30 during the day. Ham was done by my brother-in-law and then two different kinds of dressing. I forgot we also did giblets and neck in the gravy which we had not done in a long time... it was so good!

Following dinner, we played Yahtzee and I probably had way too much to drink. It was a good day even though completely different from any other Thanksgiving, it was the first Thanksgiving that my wife and I had together with just the two of us since we were married which in a way made it special.

I wanted to share as I had not done pictures of previous turkey dinners I had cooked. Last year was the firs time I had ever done a turkey on the BGE and it turned out great, but did not take pictures or document it at all. I wanted to get this one recorded so I could reference back next year to what we did.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Finally Have some "normal" back to our lives with College Basketball Start up... For How Long is the Question?

We have had the last few months feel a little more "normal" with sports happening. We were able to watch baseball throughout the summer months which includes regular season, postseason, and of course the World Series. Watching from home on our televisions as fans in the stands was still not allowed made it feel a little better being restricted to home. Then as fall approached, we had the NFL start up and even college football started playing. Again, helping to bring some normalcy back our lives.

I enjoyed following Washburn basketball this past week as we improved to 2- 0. Today, Thanksgiving Day, marks the start of the season start for Kansas basketball. We will be playing Gonzaga at 12:30 pm CST (KU vs Gonzaga). Excited to see the Jayhawks back in action after having the season ended early in March when tournaments were starting. 

While I am excited to be able to watch basketball on Thanksgiving Day, I am concerned with how long we will be able to play. Before the season started, Washburn said they would allow fans to attend and then as the season approached, cases got higher in Shawnee County, it changed where only team, refs, parents, and that was about it would be allowed into home games. Granted, I did not intend to attend the home games prior to the change, but as cases in crease, how likely is it that we will continue to have teams playing? It does not seem likely at all as case rise across the country.

During the MLB season, we would see teams throughout the summer months that could not play because of COVID-19 positive tests. Throughout the NFL season, we have seen players restricted from playing. Now, as we go into college basketball season, a player or two quarantined and that is almost half the team. We have already seen games canceled before they start as players, or coaches, tested positive for COVID-19. 

So, we will see games postponed, or canceled, as we start the season, but hopefully everyone can remain well and safe during the next few months. If the cases continue to rise, I would anticipate to see more cancellations of the season. So, while I am happy the season is starting, I will not be surprised if we start seeing the season is canceled as we move into December and January with COVID-19 cases continuing to increase.

For now, we will enjoy the start of the season and cheer on your respective team. Stay well and stay safe!

Happy Thanksgiving in these Unusual Times... Stay Connected to your Family and Know You are Loved!


Thanksgiving Feast and Pies
Thanksgiving from a Few Years Past with Pies from Mom Shirron... So good!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a wonderful and safe celebration. 

We will have an unusual Thanksgiving to say the least. We all know that COVID-19 has changed how we live every day. We were told back in March, April, and May when we were stuck at home that the worst was yet to be seen. They said it would be bad once it started getting colder and they were not kidding. Here we are on Thanksgiving Day and the hospitals here in Topeka are at near capacity or full with preparations being made for additional beds in our convention center as it is expected to get worse. Yes, worse!

It is going to be an odd Thanksgiving not spending time with family in Topeka or Lawrence. We were planning to meet with family in Topeka, but had to change plans the day before. I am sad as I have not been able to see my mom in months. We did see her a few times over the summer where we would visit on the patio being sure to keep our social distance. I saw my sister Betsy and Dina a few times over the summer in the same fashion as well as my brother Tim on the patio while we were visiting Mom. I do not recall the last time I saw my sister, Jennie. It was probably last Christmas the last time I saw Jennie.

Yes, we tried a few times of doing Zoom to connect with everyone. The first time was back early in the pandemic when we connected with just my mom and siblings. The next month we tried doing all siblings and grandchildren. I think I spent most of the time troubleshooting why the session was not working for my Mom, but we got it worked out. 

As we approached Thanksgiving this year, I thought for sure my Mom would want to do a Zoom session to be able to see all of our faces and connect. When I asked her about it last week, she laughed, and said phone calls will work. 

I am going to make a point to call my siblings not only on Thanksgiving at least once a month... I miss them! The only good thing we have going is that Kansas basketball will be starting up today (Thanksgiving), so Dina and I will start talking more often as long as there is Kansas basketball and we continue to play. 

Granted, I speak to my Mom every night on the phone. I talk to my siblings occasionally, but we need to do more talking just to interact with one another. I cannot wait until we are able to be in a room and spend time together talking about anything and everything.

All of this to say, Happy Thanksgiving to my whole family, my friends, and everyone. I hope you are able to enjoy some Thanksgiving favorites even in these unusual times. Stay safe and stay in touch!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

SCOTUS Blog, Podcasts, Information, and Understanding the Supreme Court of the United States with Tools to Hear and Read Cases

I have a new found interest in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). After the nomination and appointment of Amy Coney Barrett, I realized that I really do not know or stay up-to-date on cases that go to the Supreme Court. So, I started checking on what information was available to keep me updated on court opinions and came across SCOTUSblog that sends a daily news letter with cases that were reviewed as well as a weekly podcast (SCOTUSTALK) on typical discussion.

I signed up for the newsletter through the SCOTUSblog site and read over, or skim, the daily email notices. They typically arrive middle to late in the afternoon. Sometimes I skim over the summaries and other times I read in detail. I enjoy the articles that are submitted from various sources which they include that discuss news articles talking about the Supreme Court. It is interesting to be able to tie in the coverage I am reading with the articles from NPR, Reuters, etc. I feel like I am getting a better idea of what SCOTUS reviews and rules on each and every day.

Having been subscribed to the SCOTUSblog for a few weeks, I feel like it is helping me to better understand SCOTUS. There is a wealth of information on the SCOTUSblog site, but I have also found I am interested in going to the SCOTUS web site ( as it is possible to listen to oral arguments or even tread through transcripts going back previous. Granted, some of it is rather boring, and not being a lawyer, probably is well above my head, but I find it interesting to read through the arguments and ultimately the decision by the Justices on a case.

I would imagine I will likely write more on this in future posts. My interest was certainly peaked at the most recent nomination and appointment to the Supreme Court which sent me down this path to understand more about their cases and the Justices that serve on our High Court. I am reminded of a trip I went on when I was younger with my parents and sister, I remember looking into the chamber for the Supreme Court although they were not in session when we went through the tour, I have always had an interest in the process and cases.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

New Peloton Bike+ Delivered on Friday, November 13, 2020 and Cannot Be Happier... Let the Exercising Begin! Let's GO!

Picture of Me on Peloton Bike+
I am so excited that we got a Peloton Bike+ this past week. We ordered it a few weeks ago and it finally arrived on Friday, November 13, 2020. I have already done four rides and trying to ride daily. I had been looking at Peloton for many years and could not be happier with our purchase. 

We went with the Bike+ as it can be used for other classes where the screen will spin around and allow for other classes to be done. Although, we are also able to use Peloton on Roku although I have not done any of those and then there is also an app for the iPhone where we can take it on the go to do classes away from the bike.

I have connected with the Peloton Reddit Community and already made a friends through my initial post. If you have a Peloton and are interested in connecting with me, my ID is Havertyj. The whole idea behind Peloton is to encourage you to ride and the more you can connect with and have the ability to be in classes together helps to encourage to ride more. While I have not done a live class yes and only done on-demand classes, it is cool because I can still interact with others that are doing the on-demand class at the same time as me. Today during my ride, someone hit their 300 mark and it popped on the display so I was able to give them a high-five and they gave a high-five back to me. Whatever can be done to motivate to ride they have built into Peloton.

If you are on the fence about getting a Peloton, three days into my use of the bike I would say do it. I am sure I will be posting much more about the bike and my progress.  So far it is going great and I cannot wait to ride again!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Happy Veterans Day to All Veterans of all Branches... Thank you for your Sacrifice and your Service!


Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

To all veterans of all branches: Thank you for sacrifice, your bravery, and the example you set for us all. In short, thank you for your service! To all those who have served, and those who continue to serve… Happy Veterans Day!

Be sure to thank a veteran today and always. 

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Volunteering to Get People to Vote, Asking Questions, and Participation in the Election Process was an Enjoyable New Process for Me


Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

For the first time in my life, I volunteered my time to help get people out to vote. Without getting into the politics, it was a wonderful experience overall. I started in early October with a response to a text I received asking if I would be interested in helping to get people to vote. I initially started by calling residence in Texas which I did for two different weekends.

No longer is there a requirement to walk door-to-door to ask people to vote.

The process to volunteer is very easy, as I expected it would be, in our modern times. No longer is there a requirement to walk door-to-door to ask people to vote. Instead, from the comfort of my home, I was able to call to households throughout Texas, Florida, and eventually Kansas as the weeks narrowed in on election day. The Texas and Florida calling was done through an automated system where I would sign in on my computer, the voters information is displayed on my screen, and I am on a single call with my phone that connects me to each person (i.e. I never hang up the phone) which was really easy. I would hear a beep and start talking through my script that displayed on my computer. Based on responses from the person called, I would ask different questions, and eventually end the conversation thanking them for their time.

Overall, the calls were enjoyable. The nice thing about the calling through Texas and Florida process was that it was automated meaning I only would speak to people that answered the phone. If they did not answer their phone, they would not connect with me on the phone. Obviously, this cut down on the amount of time spent on the phone with people that did not want to speak. However, there were some that would answer their phones and then ask to be removed from the calling list.

If you get a call, or text, from a polling place and you ask to be removed from the list, it is the law that you must be removed from their list.

If you were not aware as we are now done with the calling/texting for elections, if you get a call, or text, from a polling place and you ask to be removed from the list, it is the law that you must be removed from their list. The issue that happened during my time helping with getting people out to vote is that some people would say this is the sixth or seventh time your organization has called me today; the problem is that multiple organizations use the same lists which are shared by the state to which we are contacting. In the processes I was involved, both made it clear if someone asked to be removed from a list that we needed to do so.

The other area that I spent my time leading up to election day making calls and texts was of course Kansas. I spent almost every weekend to end the month of October involved in calling programs or texting for Kansas. Again, the process was enjoyable although Kansas had two different processes for calling with one using an automated system and the other we would use our own phone numbers to call voters. The texting part was my favorite as I could send out in batch and respond like email to the responses following a script. This was ideal as I could do these in the evening while watching television or eating dinner. Very easy and again people had the ability to opt out if they did not want to receive the texts.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

So, why was I interested in participating this year for the election? To get the word out to get people to vote. We already knew that it was going to be a huge election year with lots of voters. As we wait for states to finish up their vote counting, we see the large numbers that turned out before and on election day.

We should have this type of turnout, and interest, in the election process every election and not just this year during a pandemic. Still, even with COVID-19 cases ramping up, it is impressive how many people across the United States got out to vote early, went out on election day, and participated in the process.

I do plan to take part in future elections to help get the word out. It was a fun process and I enjoyed taking part. I enjoyed talking to voters with their concerns. I can think of a few calls that were extremely enjoyable and could have stayed on the phone with the person to discuss with them for hours about politics, the state of the country, and how we are hoping for change.

I trust you made your vote and participated in our election process. 

I hope you had an enjoyable process to cast your vote. I trust you made your vote and participated in our election process. Doing the volunteer process did allow me to understand those calls and texts I had been receiving leading up to when I started volunteering. Now, I try to answer or respond to texts when those come through because I can now relate with what they are doing.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Improvement to Mobile Site for and Interested in Feedback on the New Mobile View Look

Screen Shot of New Mobile Web View

I made changes to the mobile view of this site. I realized that the mobile view was horrible and not easy to follow. Hopefully the new view is easier to read and follow. It should also be easier to browse the site, read articles, and get back to the home page or other sections of the site.

It is funny how bad the old mobile site was and I did not realize it even though I had checked the site multiple times on my cell phone but only realized it was bad when I was going back to read an old post from years ago and realized there was a lot of "dead" space at the top of the page that is not there when viewing on a computer.

The image to the right is the new view which resembles how it appears when accessing on a computer. Basically, I got rid of the odd blank space that was showing up on mobile devices when accessing the site.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please post a comment in the section below.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Apple Music with Three Live Radio Streaming Options and My New Found Love


Apple Music Radio Stations
Quietly, Apple rolled out Apple Music which was formally called Apple Beats Radio for their live stream. I had not seen any posts or notifications in the Apple Music app but did notice as browsing the radio option that there were three live stations showing up. I had listened to the Beats Radio live station a few times through the years, but usually stuck with my own library to play songs I know and love.

Doing a search, I did find an announcement from Apple from August 18, 2020 (Apple announces Apple Music radio) about the change in name and the new stations being available. However, I do not recall seeing any tweets, email notices, etc., from Apple about the change when it was rolled out back in August. I just happened to stumble across it one day while looking through my music options.

Three options are offered for live music in addition to listening to your own library, new songs, etc. through the Apple Music app. First, they have Music 1 which features exclusives, remixes, and various hosts for every hour of the day. Next, you have the Music Hits station which includes artists hosting the shows which go throughout the day. The last live radio station is Music Country which is again live hosts, new songs, and discussions with various country artists. 

I have enjoyed all three live stations from Apple Music. My favorite and the one I listen to most days is the Music Country. I go through points in my life where I listen to all country, pop, blues, or whatever is trending. Country is a genre that I come back to throughout the year and while I used to only like the older artists from the 90's or early 2000's, I have found that I am enjoying some of the newer artists lately too.

I have tried other streaming services, but I am liking Apple Music the best so far. I think Carrie is going to let her subscription expire with Amazon Music and switch us over to the family plan for Apple Music which is only an additional $4. 

Happy music streaming to whatever service you enjoy. Feel free to respond to this post with your favorite service and what you like best about the service.