Sunday, September 26, 2021

Oliver Turned Ten Back in June and September 24 it is Ten Years with Our Family

Oliver Joined Our Family on September 24, 2011

Sometimes it takes FaceBook to pop up a reminder to remind us how old our little puppy is in our family. Is that bad? For some reason, both Carrie and I were thinking that he was 11 this year. Until a memory showed up on FaceBook earlier this week to remind us that we brought little Oliver into our family ten years ago to the day. Although he was born in June 2011, we for some reason had been thinking the past year or two he was older. We celebrate his birthday in June and also celebrate his joining our family in September.

Oliver with his toys as a little puppy

I thought it was time to provide backstory of how Oliver became a part of our lives. Some already know this story, but use it as an excuse to post pictures and story of our little dog. On June 7, 2011 we had to put our dear cat, Sidney, to rest (see Sidney Our Friend). Carrie and I were both so sad even though we knew the time was fast approaching as he was old and could barely get around the house. He was having problems with going to the bathroom and not himself the weeks leading up to the decision to put him down. We had watched his body and character change over the previous months and in consulting with our vet, we made the difficult decision to put him down. We were so sad and decided we would not get a pet for a long time.

Oliver Playing as a Puppy

Then along came a Washburn Alumni fun run with friends in September 2011. We finished the run and our friends Shayne and Autumn asked if we wanted to stop by a local pet store to look at dogs. Of course we said sure and went with them to look at dogs. Lesson learned on that one and only go to a pet store if looking for a pet not just to look. We looked at a few dogs through the window and eventually we saw a little long legged dog with black and white fur playing, or trying to play, with his brothers and sisters. His little bottom up in the air as he was chewing on a toy, seeing him run around, and having the time of his life. Carrie said I think we need to see that one right there. 

Sleepy Oliver Resting

We took him to a little space where we could hold and play with the little guy. The next thing I knew, Carrie was holding him and saying how we need to take him home. Tears were welling up in her eyes as she held the little puppy. We later found out that his name before we had him was Trooper II. So we still refer to him sometimes as little Trooper. Carrie crying and telling me I need to hold Trooper II, I picked him up and looked back at Carrie and had tears going down my face. He was perfect!

Some how it was only Carrie and I that came away purchasing a pet. Shayne and Autumn had the idea to look at dogs, but they managed to walk away without a new member of their family. Granted, we had to wait until the next day to pick up Trooper II. We did buy supplies so we could be ready for him when he came home and we Discovered the Moment to buy Trooper II and all of the supplies. 

Oliver and All of His ToysThe next day we brought Trooper II home and named him Oliver. For the first few years we had him, we would buy him toys just about every time we went to the pet store for food or came across something we thought it would like. He had so many toys that we had two bins where we kept his toys. We recently weeded out his toys and down to one bin. We donated his toys to friends with dogs and Human Shelter for dogs looking for a home. 

Oliver was my first dog to buy and have to train from as a little puppy. Other dogs that had been in my life were bought and trained by my parents or siblings with dogs they had acquired through the years. Having a new little puppy as so fun but also exhausting. Getting up multiple times through the night to take him out to go to the bathroom, get him acquainted with going outside, and making sure he was not chewing through the furniture. We bought gates so we could keep him in one room to keep an eye on him. 

Oliver in his Kennel

Some of my favorite memories of Oliver was setting up a webcam so we could “watch” him while we were at work. I set it up so my parents could watch too. In the early years of Oliver being with our family, we kept him in his kennel during the day. We could not trust him in the house to not get into things or cause a mess, so I set up a webcam that broadcast with a private link so we could keep an eye on him during the day or when we were away. I recall when Carrie or I would get home from work, my parents would usually be calling at the same time as they were watching “Oliver Cam” to see his reaction as we returned home. I have some voice messages from my Dad when he would be on the phone watching Oliver and saying he knows we are home as he can see him getting excited.

To this day, Oliver still loves his kennel. We allow him full roam of the house, but his kennel is his safe spot. He goes there when the weather is bad or he is scared. He goes there when we are leaving for work. We leave the door open on it all the time but he still goes there to sometimes sleep or just wait for us to leave the house. One of our favorite things he does is that when we are leaving he goes to his kennel and we sometimes forget things so we come back and he will be in the middle of the family room looking at the garage door as if he is busted he is not in his kennel. He will quickly run back to his kennel as if to say he is a good boy. It makes us laugh each time.

Sleepy Sleepy Oliver in his Bed Sleepy Oliver at Grandma’s House Handsome Fella Sleepy Oliver on his Toy Exhausted Cute Face Oliver Oliver in a lot of snow Fast Running Oliver Oliver Sleeping with his Tongue Out Belly Rub Time for Oliver Sleeping John and Oliver on Neck Oliver in Back Yard Enjoying the Sun Close up of Oliver

A few photos of Oliver through the years. We love our boy so much and so happy he is part of our lives. He is the best dog in the world even if he is a little testy when taking him on walks, he is the best.

Happy joining our family anniversary, Oliver, and I look forward to celebrating with you again next year. We love you!

Celebration of Nineteen Years in Lawrence, KS at Free State Brewing and 715 Mass on September 21

Carrie and I at 715 on the Patio Enjoying Dinner
Carrie and I had a wonderful 19 wedding anniversary on September 21. We went to Lawrence to spend the evening where we had drinks at Free State Brewing and then dinner at 715. We had a beautiful evening to enjoy our evening of celebration of nineteen years. 

When we were at Free State Brewing at the bar enjoying some drinks, we spoke to a man at the counter enjoying a drink and waiting on his food for a while. We had a nice visit with him as he was in from Chicago visiting his daughter who had graduated from KU and then had just had a baby. The man was taking a break from baby duty to enjoy a cold drink and pick up their dinner. He said since his daughter went to KU he had been going to Lawrence for many years and he always enjoyed his visits to Lawrence, KS. We shared that we used to live in Lawrence and I was born and raised in Lawrence. We shared how we would go to Free State Brewing regularly when we lived there and how much we enjoy their Cyclists which is a nice and refreshing beer with lemonade. 

Following drinks at Free State Brewing we went to our reservations at 715 Restaurant. We had reservations at 7:30 and sitting on the patio. Actually, it is their parking spaces that were converted to seating. They did a very nice job with it as there is plexiglass, plants, walls, etc., and it did not feel like we were sitting next to the street. We could barely hear the cars going by right next to us. Sure, every once in a while we would hear a car horn, but no different from being in a business and hearing the horns. It was an enjoyable evening and wonderful way to spend our anniversary.

Drinks at 715
Drinks at 715 Mass

Appetizers to Start
Apps at 715 Mass

Dish Carrie Enjoyed which was Salmon
Dinner for Carrie

My Dinner on our Anniversary
Dinner for John

Pictures from our evening at 715 Restaurant. It was truly amazing. We had not eaten at 715 Restaurant in a few years, so it was good to be back and enjoy a delicious treat on Mass in Lawrence, KS. If you have not been to 715 Restaurant, I highly recommend you stop by to check them out. Check them out for a drink, for an appetizer, dinner, or even dessert. Ah, we did have dessert but no pictures of it as it disappeared too quickly.

Beers at Free State Brewing Before Dinner

Here is to nineteen years of marriage to my best friend. To end, drinks we had at Free State Brewing and a toast to Carrie as we look forward to our twentieth year of marriage and many more years to come. 

Where are your favorites places to eat, or drink, in Lawrence, KS? When you visit from out of town is there a place you have to visit each time you are in town? I would love to hear your favorites so we can share stories and maybe find a place I have not been or have not been in a number of years.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Happy Anniversary to Carrie on 19 Years of Marriage to this Guy #Anniversary #19years #wedding #celebration

Carrie and John Engagement Picture

Nineteen years ago today Carrie and I were married. It feels like only yesterday. We have so many memories from our nineteen years together. For today, I will post what we had on our wedding site 19 years ago today as we led up to our big day.

The Meeting

Carrie and I Dancing at our Wedding
Carrie's Remembers: We only live 30 minutes from each other, but Fate decided a Caribbean cruise would be the best route to true love. A big group of us (about 150) were all going on the same cruise booked from a travel agency in Topeka. It took some coaxing from Brenda to get me to go. After all, this would mean missing the King Biscuit Blues Festival with my Dad! But we saved our money and couldn't wait for our vacation. I had heard through the grapevine that an acquaintance of mine was rooming with some guy named John. Who was John, we all wanted to know. Was Joell dating? Turns out they had mutual friends who convinced them to room together to save money. 

We met at the hotel the night before our plane departed. He seemed to be sitting at the edge of our group and I thought I'd be nice and strike up a conversation. Although, neither of us seemed to sense the chemistry between us till halfway through our trip.

We flirted on the high seas and knew by the end of the cruise that something very special had just begun.

John on Wedding Day Ready to Meet his Bride
John Remembers: True love could have happened anywhere between Carrie and I. We had met once before a year ago in a bar we both happened to be at. I remembered, but Carrie did not recall the encounter until later.

It is also interesting to note that both Carrie and I are Neil Diamond fans. After we started dating, we realized that we had been to his concert at Kemper Arena during the 80's. So again, our paths crossed, plus we have a mutual interest that we discovered during the cruise.

Our first introduction a year before did not lead to either one of us falling in love with the other. Instead, it took a week long cruise to bring us together.

It was not until Wednesday on the cruise that there was a mutual interest. I asked her to dance, we went on walks. We were becoming more and more interested as the week continued.

About the time the cruise ended, I did not want it to end. I was having so much fun with Carrie and spending time with her on the boat. Neither one of us were sure what would happen after the cruise.

After returning from the cruise, I called Carrie two days later to ask her out on a date. Two years later and we are going strong!

The Proposal

Carrie and John Engagement Pictures
Carrie's Version: John was taking me out to dinner in Topeka to celebrate our 11 month anniversary. It was Friday, Sept. 21, 2001. 

After dinner we went to his apartment in Lawrence. I was not in the best of moods and thought I might watch television. 

John took my arm and stopped me in my tracks. He turned a chair around and sat me down. I was confused as I watched him walk to his room and back. 

In his hands was a small gift. He handed it to me. As I started to unwrap it he could tell I was getting excited and whispered "It's not what you think." 

I settled down and opened the gift. It was a beautiful pink tourmaline ring set in white gold! He told me he had been talking to my friend Sharon at the jewelry store where she worked. He wished me a happy anniversary and I thanked him. 

He stood up and told me he had talked to Sharon some more, then disappeared from the room. Tears welled up in my eyes as he returned with a dozen red roses and another ring box. 

He handed me the flowers and began the most wonderful speech I have ever heard. John got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Crying, I said yes at least half a dozen times. I could barely see the ring through my tears. 

He placed the most beautiful diamond ring on my finger and we hugged. Not ten minutes later, we called his parents and mine. They had all known he was planning on proposing. Then we called everyone else! 

We knew right away that we would have to marry on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2002. Exactly one year from the date he proposed.

John Kissing Carrie for Engagement Picture Set
John's Version: I had planned how I would ask Carrie to marry me for a few weeks. I did not know how I was going to say it, but I had a good idea of how I was going to go about it. I did not want her to have any idea what I was doing or when I was going to do it.

I took her out to Olive Garden and we had a nice dinner. We had stayed a little later than expected over at her parents before leaving to go eat. While this was not a problem, I wanted to do the proposal before it got too late. I knew that Carrie would want to call her parents (they knew I was going to do it that night) and I wanted to be able to call my parents too.

I drove back to Lawrence as fast as I possibly could. Carrie asked me why we were going so fast and I think she thought I was upset about something. Not in the least! I wanted to get home to get things set up to ask her to marry me.

I had purchased flowers and champagne the night before in preparation. I had all of these hidden away so she would not see them when we entered my apartment.

Carrie, still thinking that I am upset about something since I drove home so quickly, entered the apartment. Still not suspecting anything... I took her arm and asked her to sit in a chair in the middle of the room that I turned around for her to face me facing towards the kitchen. I told her to wait one second.

At this point, Carrie looked confused but very curious as I went into the laundry room and brought out something. It was a small box!

She started to cry as I gave it to her to open. She had just started to open the lid of the ring case as the tears streamed down her face. I told her this was not what she thought it was... However, I had spoken to her friend and had something else for her.

I went back into the laundry room and came out with a bottle of champagne and the roses. I put the champagne and roses down and looked into her eyes. I started telling Carrie how much I care about her. How perfect we are for one another. It seemed as though I talked for an hour, but I know it was only a couple of minutes. I then knelt down on one knee, took her hand and asked her to marry me. I could see the tears streaming down her face and she whispered out "yes". 


Carrie and John Leaving for Reception in Style
We were married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lawrence, KS. The reception took place at the time was called Shawnee Country Club. We were married at 5 pm and the reception started at at 7 pm in Topeka. So many great memories from this day 19 years ago today.


Carrie and I are looking forward to our twentieth wedding anniversary next year. We are beginning to discuss where we will go and what we will do to celebrate. I look forward to twenty years with Carrie being married but also to the next twenty years and whether it will still seem like just yesterday that we were married.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Fun Filled Weekend with Thursday Night Washburn Football, Larry Carlton Friday, and Chiefs Sunday

Thursday Night Home Washburn Football Game
Washburn Home Football

I had some fun this past weekend with football, good food, drinks, and fun with family and friends. It started Thursday night with the first home Washburn football game. We played Central Missouri for the second game of the season for Washburn where we won 29 - 10 improving on the year to 2 - 0.

It felt good to be out for a tailgate again after a year of being away. A good turn out for the first home football game. I saw a lot of familiar faces and camped out in our corner by the flag pole. Our long-time tailgate friend Jon was set up next to our spot. It was good to see him talk to him for a bit after the game started and of course as he started breaking down his spot, we had a good conversation and looking forward to the rest of the home games.

Selfie Watching the Washburn Home Game
Washburn did not look great, but we did what was needed and won the game. I enjoyed being in our corner to watch the games. Yes, in case you are wondering, we have season tickets, but I cannot recall the last time I went into the game. Javier and I were trying to remember when we started going to Washburn games to tailgate and we think it might be around 15 years at this point. I called him from our spot as he was down in Texas and always brings back good memories of being in our spot enjoying a football game. 

Sunrise on Friday Morning in Topeka
Bright and early Friday morning, I took Oliver over to Brenda to watch while we were going to be gone for a concert. Oliver always has a good time over at Brenda’s house. We have to be careful when we say he is going over there to see Emma and Toby because he will start running around the house ready to leave. He is so funny though as he is so excited to get over there and then they really do not do anything together. When they go outside, Toby and Oliver will run around a little, but no real playing. Oliver just likes being around them to be around something different than just Carrie and I all the time. 

When I left, the sunrise was low in the eastern sky and looked like a fireball coming up over the horizon. The picture does not do it justice as it was impressive as I was driving down 21st Street to head to work. It was a good way to start the day although sad to be leaving Oliver behind, but I knew he would have a good time.

I worked a half day on Friday so that we could get to Hutchinson, KS that afternoon. Eddie had bought the family concert tickets to Larry Carlton who was playing at Fox Theatre. We had a great time eating dinner Friday night at Polo Bar and Grill. We had a good time eating before the concert and turned out to be a really nice spot to eat. Popular with locals, from what we could tell, and the food was really good! We were going to eat after the concert, but decided it would be too late and not sure if places like Polo Bar and Grill would have their kitchen open. We did not want to eat at a chain, so it worked out nicely for us.

The Fox Theatre was fun to see. I think I had heard about it when Uncle JR and Aunt Marcia would talk about Hutch, but I do not think I had ever been there. For COVID, it was not capacity seating, so everyone was spaced out and we ended up spacing out even further as there were lots of seats/rows open around us as they were taking the precautions about being masked and not close to one another seriously.

Greg, Erin, Joan, Eddie, Carrie, and I at the Larry Carlton Concert in Hutchinson, KS

Seeing Larry Carlton in concert was so fun! The first note he played on his guitar and I knew it was going to be good. I had listened to some of his songs prior to going to the concert, and I knew about Steely Dan, although seeing Larry Carlton in-person was so much better. I know through many of the songs Friday night, my head was bobbing up and down, or my foot/leg were bouncing up and down in rhythm to the music. 

Sometimes there are evenings, or days, that I wish would not end and this was one of those trips. I felt sad as we packed up and left to head back to Topeka on Saturday. We did have lunch at Pizza Ranch before we left for Topeka, but then I was sad and full, so Eddie offered to drive and I slept the whole way home. What a great weekend and so good to be out and about.

Today is Sunday and ready to watch the Kansas City Chiefs today at 3:25 to start their season. Have a great rest of your Sunday and a great week!

Monday, September 06, 2021

Happy Labor Day

American Flag on Labor Day

Labor Day is a day for us as a nation to acknowledge the hard work of Americans who have contributed to our country and our future with continued prosperity. The determined and unwavering work ethic rooted in our country since its birth continues to be interlaced within every one of us. 

While Labor Day is a day to celebrate the working people of  the United States, the day also serves as the end of summer for many. Pools close, school is in full effect, and the temperatures begin to get cooler across the nation. We see the transition from baseball to football with the end of baseball season approaching quickly. Our lawns begin to change as they head to the dormant months of no lawn mowing.

Yet, we still have a lot that will happen in the remaining four months of 2021. I trust you can enjoy your Labor Day weekend celebrating with family and friends. Possibly taking in a movie or enjoying a glass of wine on a pleasant day and remembering why we have Labor Day as a celebration.

Have a happy and safe Labor Day!

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Changed Email Subscription Service for Email Delivery of The Dog House Blog Site

The previous service I used for email subscription expired. Although it was still working, it is going to end from Feedburner (i.e. Google). I imported all email subscriptions previously subscribed to the new service called You will start receiving email notices of new posts from this new site. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thank you to those that follow my blog via email, social media, or stumble across my page when browsing the internet. Those that have not subscribed via email, you can do so on the front page at

Thank you!

Various September Sunday Ramblings on a Holiday Weekend About Saturdays, Fun, Routines, Sports, and Anything Else that Comes to Mind

Oliver and Carrie on a Lazy Sunday Morning Not Camping
We made an effort to try and make this a camping weekend. We (i.e. Carrie) searched for camp sites and while we found them, the weather was the issue with not going. She checked camp sites all over the state, but everywhere had rain Friday and Saturday, so we decided not to go camping. We will try again later this month and we have already selected dates in October to go camping. Of course, today being Sunday, the weather is beautiful at 74 degrees with sunshine and cool breeze. Makes us want for being by a lake camping with our dog.

That’s how it goes sometimes and we are still early in our camping experience, so I am sure we will have many more like this in the years to come. We feel the pull of nice weather and wanting to camp but as the time approaches, we have to adjust schedule to another weekend or possibly camp in the rain. As you may recall, our first camping experience (see Camping Eisenhower State Park) where we did camp in the rain and cold, it was not bad but not something we want to plan on doing if we can help it. If it it happens when we are camping where weather comes up, that is fine, but if we can avoid camping in rain/cold, that will be our choice to pick a clear weekend… as you would expect. Still, the pull from wanting to camp when it is nice is heavy. I can relate it to when I was playing golf when the weather would be nice and I would want to go golfing so bad I could not focus on anything else; the feeling of good weather and wanting to camp is similar for me.

Greg, Erin, Carrie, and I Enjoying Drinks on Saturday
Instead of a camping weekend, we met Greg and Erin for breakfast, ran some errands, and then had a late lunch at Boomers’ Steakhouse, Grill and Catering on Saturday. We have been having fun the past few Saturdays as we have met up just about every Saturday to have fun. Our weekend get together Saturday have included Topeka Farmer’s Market, visiting a winery, various lunches or dinner locations, and enjoying some beers at local establishments.

Next weekend, we will be going to a concert which will be fun. Eddie bought the tickets and we are making an evening of it. More on this next week. It will be fun to go to a concert as I do not recall the last one I attended… I am thinking it would have been in 2019, but I am not positive. Regardless, it will be fun to be out with others, listen to live music, and have a good time. We will be safe and cautious while we are out and keeping an eye on the venue for requirements for masks. We have all been vaccinated, but still have to be careful just as I am at work where masks are required.

This next week kicks off the NFL season. It is hard to believe as it seems like we just watched the Super Bowl. Not a game we want to remember, so maybe that’s why it seems like it was just yesterday. The Chiefs start their season on Sunday, September 12. I have two fantasy football leagues I am playing this year and I finished my last draft this past Friday. Ready for another season and ready to cheer the Chiefs to another fun season. 

Speaking of football, Washburn Ichabod football team won their first game of the season Thursday night 76 - 12 over Lincoln University of Missouri. The Kansas Jayhawks football team won their first game of the season with a new coach 17 - 14 over South Dakota. A positive start for local college sports and then we look forward to watching professional sports start up this week.

That is all for now, so have a wonderful holiday weekend and watch for a holiday post on here tomorrow. Until next week, have a great week!