Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy New Year 2022! Be Happy and Safe as the New Year Begins!

From Pexels Photo Site

I said it last year and I have said it since, it is hard to believe that the year is coming to an end. As we say good-bye to 2021 and welcome in 2022, it makes for a good time to reflect on the past year. I found 2021 to be a busy filled year. We were able to do a lot of camping and we also did some traveling. I expect us to do even more camping in 2022. We already have some locations booked as the year is about to begin. We went to weddings, attended sporting events, and really things were feeling rather normal. Continuing to wear masks at work and in stores, but it was starting to feel better. 

The past few weeks as we close in on the end of 2021, we see cases start to increase. We are seeing sporting and theater events being canceled or postponed, so I can only hope that everything is not canceled as we start 2022 and look to continued feel of getting back to normal.

For now, I reflect on the past year and look forward to 2022. I hope you have had a rewarding 2021 and that 2022 treats you well. Stay safe and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Contract Dispute Resolved on December 19 Between YouTube TV and Disney Restores Order and ESPN is Back! #YouTubeTV #YTTV #espn #Disney #Contract

YouTube Restored Disney Channels to Lineup


That did not take long! Disney and YouTube TV resolved their contract dispute in record time. Last week I posted a notice (Disney and YouTube TV Removes Disney Channels) about losing Disney channels which included all ESPN channels and by later in the day on Sunday, December 19, the contract was renewed and channels started appearing.

It is really not surprising how fast the contract was restored. Bowl games happening and everything sports, it has a big draw and as Reddit posts suggested, people were leaving in droves because of the loss. I was upset, but I also thought as indicated in the post last week (see Disney post), I thought it would be resolved within a week or two at the most. I had not plans to jump ship the day after all of my channels disappeared. There were many on Reddit though that did jump ship and were downright nasty in their comments back to YouTube TV about the contract disputes.

We have not heard the details of contract, but YouTube TV did give us a $15 discount for this month because of the problems. I am hopeful that YouTube TV stayed true to their demands and did not give into Disney with the increased prices. I am sure the information will come out in time as to the extent of the contract. YouTube TV has promised that there will not be any price increases after multiple increases the past couple of years.

For now, I am happy to have my channels returned and happy with a $15 refund for this month. Note, for other YouTube TV subscribers, if you have not gone into your settings to add the channels back, you will need to do so before you will see them. Because the channels were taken away when the contract expired, the channels have to be added back to your grid if you are like me and have edited your favorites.

Thank you YouTube TV for working out the deal with Disney to return our channels. For me, I do not care about the kids channels, but I am very happy to have back the ESPN channels and ABC.

Happy TV watching...

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas! Our Mantel and Tree to Start Christmas Eve and Wish you the Best Christmas 2021! #ChristmasEve #Christmas #Holiday

Picture of Our Mantel and Tree from Christmas 2021

Merry Christmas! Have a very Merry Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with family and friends. Stay safe and check in with your loved ones, friends, and neighbors.

Our Christmas Eve will include a visit to Lawrence to see my mom and drop off some food. Then a quiet evening at home eating dinner, wrapping in last minute gifts, and spending time with Carrie and Oliver. Christmas Day will include time with family where I will see Joan, Eddie, Erin, and Greg going between homes to celebrate the day. I will call each of my siblings and of course my mother to wish a Merry Christmas.

I am also looking forward to a week and a few days of of work. Nice break from the work schedule and a time to regroup and prepare for 2022.

Stay safe and enjoy your time this holiday season!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Disney and YouTube TV Dispute Removes All Disney Channels from YouTube TV Effective Saturday, December 18 #YouTubeTV #YTTV #Disney #Dispute

Just when I think everything is smooth with my television watching, more contract disputes are announced earlier this week by YouTube TV and Disney. Earlier this week, Disney was warning of loss of Disney channels and at the same time YouTube TV was warning of loss of Disney channels. The agreement was due to expire on Friday, December 17. As Friday approached and expired, I still had all of the affected channels, so I thought perfect, they got it figured out. Then about 11 Saturday morning, I read the update from YouTube TV via Twitter that they did not come to terms with Disney for the channels.

The channels that are removed include local ABC station, ABC News Live, The Disney Channel, FX, ESPN (all versions), and many others. As noted in the above tweet from YouTube TV, while the contract is being disputed, the cost of YouTube TV goes down $15/month.

YouTube TV recently resolved another contract dispute that had been going on for months between Roku and YouTube TVRoku and YouTube had been disputing for months to the point where Roku had removed YouTube app (and YouTube TV) from the the Roku store. Earlier this year (January 2021), contract disputes between YouTube TV and Bally Sports caused us to lose our regional sports network (see January 2021 post) and it does not appear that contract will ever be renewed with Bally Sports going a different direction to the streaming market. 

The crazy things is that I already subscribe to Disney+ESPN+, and many other streaming services, yet, I cannot watch any of the Disney channels live with this recent contract dispute between YouTube TV and Disney. No telling how long this dispute will last. Unlike the Bally Sports contract negotiations, I think this will be a short time where the two sides do not come to terms. With fifteen plus channels gone from YouTube TV which includes all of the sports stations, I see this not taking long to resolve. How long is relative though, as parent company Google has stated many times that they do not intend to raise prices for YouTube TV customers after various price increases the past few years, so I appreciate their holding fast to not pay more for Disney channels if it is going to cause a price increase for us the customers. We could be without the channels for a few weeks but hopefully it does not mean months.

Yes, I have thought about changing providers. We really enjoy the features of YouTube TV and the unlimited DVR capabilities, so I am not interested in leaving at this time. Depending on how long this goes on, I might look at other options for live television, but there is no way I would go back to cable or satellite. The contract disputes are an old foe of television watching. I recall when we were Cox customers for television, they fought contract disputes too where at times service would be lost to channels while they worked through the contracts. It seems that for YouTube TV this is a regular occurrence and it is getting old.

This is the state of my television viewing as of today. Do not be surprised if I am grouchy while this dispute continues, but I am hopeful both parties will resolve this and I will have my sports channels back in my YouTube TV guide.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Fun Weekend Spent at Zona Rosa Shopping, Eating, and Having Fun Preparing for Christmas

We did something new this year by spending the evening in Kansas City this past Friday night. We ate dinner, had fun, and then on Saturday, we went shopping. This is our annual time to buy gifts, maybe a road trip, and then finding within a set budget to buy gifts for Greg and Erin. We mix it up where one year we had to buy our gifts from a certain amount at a certain store. Another year we decided candy would be the gift we would give one another (we had a lot of candy that year). One of my favorites was we decided we would get gifts for one another from the PX Store at Fort Riley and again keeping a small budget, we had to get all of our gifts for one another from the PX. It was so fun!

I took off work on Friday so we could get into Kansas City in the early afternoon. We went straight to Duluth Trading Company in Kansas City. I have been wearing Duluth Trading Co. underpants for a number of years and this was our first time to visit the store. Trying out some new items to wear and we bought Carrie a new winter coat while we were there. 

We then had to make a stop at Bass Pro Shop as some of us had never been there or it had been a long time since we had been to one of their stores. We looked at camping items and tested out some nice chairs they had we could certainly use for camping. We ended up buying candy. In fact, we got some mints that Brenda had told us about that she said she cannot stop eating. Now I am hooked on them and probably going to finish off the bag.

Before heading to the hotel, we decided we should get some apps for a late lunch. We headed to 54th Street Grill & Bar. First time we had been there and it was really good. The bar tender must have had a long day as he was not very talkative, or friendly, but the food was really good. We each got a few apps and it was so much food, we were afraid we would not be able to eat later that night for our 7 pm reservations. 

Deciding it was time to head to the hotel, we got to the hotel to have a few drinks, one of us took a nap, and prepared for the evening. For dinner Friday night, we had made reservations for Cascone’s Italian Restaurant. It was packed and even though we had reservations, we had to wait. It was fun people watching as we waited.

The drinks were really good. I had one of their specials and then Sangria before we ordered a bottle of wine to share with the table. The apps were good here too. For dinner, I got Lobster Ravioli and it was delicious! Finally, to finish off the evening, we each got desserts. Yes, this is after I said earlier we were not sure following apps earlier in the afternoon if we would be hungry for dinner, well, we were hungry and no sign we had any issues other than a few did not finish their dinner or dessert. But it was worth it! I got a cannoli for my dessert which was perfect as it was small and easy to eat.

Following dinner, we went back to the hotel where we played games and stayed up to about midnight. Decided it was time to head to bed as we had a long day planned for Saturday with shopping.

Saturday was a fun day! We were in Kansas City to visit Zona Rosa for shopping. Each person had selected three stores they would want to have Christmas gifts from that the other couple would be selecting. With a limit of $50 (approximately) total gifts could be purchased from the three stores selected or all from one of the stores. Whatever worked out best during the search. 

I had been to Zona Rosa in the past, but never spent the day there. Carrie and I had been there a few times to eat at an Indian restaurant, but never spent the day. It was a fun day and the weather was perfect! 

Following shopping, we went to Brew Top Pub and Patio where we had a late lunch, a few drinks, and watch the Missouri vs. Kansas game (KU dominated). Following the late lunch, we headed back home.

A short two day trip, but it was so fun. I spent most of Sunday catching up on sleep and watching football. I realized as I was preparing to write about our shopping weekend that I did not take any pictures of our trip. I had planned to take pictures of at least our food or of us out and about, but no, I did not take any pictures.

Oliver and I spent most of Sunday sleeping as we were both exhausted. Oliver spent Friday night at my Mom’s and Dina came over to spend the night too. So I know they had fun!

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

Sunday, December 05, 2021

A Year of Regular Posts to My Web Site and Planning to Keep Posting Another Year... Thanks for Visiting and Following!

Back in November 2020 right before Thanksgiving that year, I started to blog on a regular basis. I planned out to do a blog at least once a week ranging on a variety of topics. Sometimes just me updating what I did the previous week, but trying to post on a regular schedule. Prior to this planned weekly posting, I would do very infrequent and sometimes not post for a few months. 

I have been able to keep my commitment to post on a weekly basis. My day to post is Sunday each week. At times I do one post and other weeks I will do multiple. It all depends on what happened that week or what I want to share for the week. I do also try and post an update on holidays and have those post on the day of the holiday (i.e. Thursday). 

This has been a fun process. Only a few times did I struggle with what to post or trying to get it written and done before the day was over on a Sunday. Often times, I write whatever I plan to post early in the week and schedule the posting to publish early in the morning on Sunday morning. 

My plan is to continue posting at least once a week for another year. I enjoy it and while some have wondered why, I enjoy the process and thinking through what to post. Typically I post what we did on a vacation along with pictures, but I usually do not post where we are going ahead of time or that we will be gone... only the summary of the trip and pictures after we are back.

I appreciate my regular followers and those that comment on posts. Of course my other goal is to have regular visitors to my site ( and doing a regular post each week drives traffic to the site. I have had the web site for a long time and it is good to say I average approximately 2,500 visitors each month to my site. I would like to see that increase and the only way to increase traffic is to post more each week.

There is an option on the page to subscribe to posts so that you can get the updates in your email. This can be found on the right side of the page in a section called Simply enter your email address and click Subscribe. It is an easy way to get updates each week that I post to the site. 

So, I appreciate your visiting my site, or subscribing through Watch for my updates for another year and know that I truly enjoy doing these weekly posts. Thank you for visiting and following.

Progress Update for One Month Mark of Bike Riding and Exercise... A Starting Over Approach

When I posted back on October 31 that I was starting my exercise routine again (see post), I posted the total workouts I had done as I started that process. I plan to do monthly updates each month to show my progress. At the end of October as I was starting a regular routine, I was at 275 total workouts. I planned to ride three times a week. I did not meet that goal exactly, but I did manage to get a workout in at least once a week and usually more than once a week, but it depended on what was happening that particular week.

As of today, December 5, 2021, I have 290 workouts. I averaged about ten minute rides for my workouts during this time. I am still battling the fatigue of getting back into biking and struggling with my backside hurting from the seat, but it is getting better. I know the more I ride the better it will get. For the first month, I was keeping my rides anywhere from 10 - 15 minutes. This past week, I have started doing longer rides at 20 minute workouts. I plan to stay in 20 minute range for a few weeks before expanding out to longer rides.

Started November at 275 workouts... A month later, I am at 290 workouts.

It feels good to be back on the bike and getting some type of routine going in terms of exercise. My plan for early morning workouts did not go very well as I struggled to get up those extra 30 - 40 minutes early to get on the bike, so I decided for now, as long as I am riding, doing so after work will be enough for me. I make sure that during the week when I get home from work, I do not do anything else, but go straight to change and get on the bike. That helps to not cause loss of focus on doing the ride. Sometimes other evening events interfere, but I am working through trying to plan for those so I can change days or get up early and workout.

My long-term goal is to work in a jog for my workouts giving me four days a week to exercise. That will likely not happen again until sometime in the spring at this point. I am happy to report that after a year of owning the Peloton Bike (see post from November 15, 2020) I am back to using the bike and plan to make it my routine moving forward. Regardless of whether we are traveling, tired, etc., I plan to keep some form of exercise in my weekly habit. Once the habit stops, it is so difficult to get it started again and I do not want to restart this process of becoming accustom to the bike in the future.

Until next month with another update from my exercise, have a great workout and see you on the virtual trails of Peloton!

Follow up on Thanksgiving Day Turkey Breast Cooking Plus Oliver Not Feeling Great During the Holiday

Turkey Breasts Prepped and on the Grill

For Thanksgiving this year, we did turkey breasts on the grill. We decided not to do fully turkey, but only the breasts. We did salt, pepper, some other seasoning, and then butter over the top. We were debating on whether to put them breast up or down. We thought we had them breast up as we thought they would cook better that way, but then after I posted the picture to the left on Twitter, a friend commented how they were breast down. Possibly thinking they were whole turkeys, but I am sure they were breast up. 

I cooked them on indirect heat using the convEGGtor at 325 degrees sitting on a rack. The turkey breasts were around 7 lbs, so we figured it would be about two hours to cook. Got the rest of it set up and going without too much trouble and let them sit in the BGE cooking away while we got ready for the day.

Turkey Breasts Done on BGE for Thanksgiving 2021

After a little over two hours, they were looking really good. I rotated them a few times to get even cook throughout. Using thermometer that I monitor remotely with my Apple Watch and iPhone, I was able to watch their progression to completion while watching parades and getting ready for the day. I have to say, these two turkey breasts probably turned out the best I have ever done in terms of appearance for how they look. Nice golden brown overall which I have not had happen with previous turkey cooks regardless of whether they were whole turkeys or just the turkey breasts. I believe this is the second year in a row where we did turkey breasts and these turned out really good in appearance.

Finished Turkey Breast Preparing for Carving
I did have some issues having them cook evenly which is why I was rotating them to move the one in front to the back and then later reversed. The internal temp was high for one bird or in one part, but not to the target temp of 165 in another portion. So, I probably left them on a bit long which meant they were a little dry, but that is what gravy is for to help with dryness. 

We have one turkey breast remaining which we will do one weekend as a treat. It is back in the freezer waiting for the next time we cook and do some favorites of Thanksgiving Day food.

Little Oliver Helping me with Thanksgiving Day Cooking on the BGE
I did have my little dog, Oliver, out helping me with the cooking. He was not feeling well the days leading up to Thanksgiving and then he got a little worse going into the weekend from that Thursday. In fact, we were planning to take him to the vet first thing Monday morning to have him checked over. In the picture to the right, this is Oliver enjoying the sun, but you can see he is not feeling the best. I think on Thanksgiving Day he was not eating and not a lot of energy.

As we went into Saturday and Sunday, he went over 24 hours without eating anything. We had tried doing this to him the Tuesday or Wednesday of that week, but he did this on his own. It helped and by Saturday/Sunday he was back to himself. He was eating, running around the house, and not having any issues. We were so happy to have our Oliver back to "normal". We decided we would play it by ear for the vet Monday morning and he was doing great, so we did not take him into see the vet. He has been good ever since which we are grateful happened.

Overall, we had a fantastic Thanksgiving. The weather was beautiful, ate a lot of wonderful food, and we had a good day talking with family. Plus there was sports, so that was fun too!