Saturday, December 31, 2022

Happy New Year 2023! 2022 in Review and Looking Forward to 2023

Oliver Looking at the Back Yard
We did a lot during 2022. It was a jam packed year with traveling, some weight loss, eating, celebrations, and sadness. As I think about 2022, this is looking back at post posts from various months and looking to 2023.

I set out in January 2022 to read 20 books (see post) and I stuck to the plan. I recently finished twenty books and at the writing of this update I am at 24 books for the year. Officially the most books I have read in one year ever in my life. I am hoping to increase that number for 2023, but I am happy with what I accomplished for 2022.

Back in January 2022, we had plans to camp a lot over the warmer months. We were only able to fit in camping twice with one early in the spring and then our final camping trip in late October (see January post about upcoming tripsearly spring post, and October post). With everything planned for the year, we were only able to get the two trips into our plans. Hoping to increase our camping trips in 2023 and possibly work in some other states to visit on our camping trips too.

Sunrise in January 2022
I remained true to my plans for the year of working out and riding the bike. I kept it up throughout the year until our trip to Aruba in November at which point all working out has stopped. I plan to start it up again early in 2023. I looking forward to getting back at it and get back into the habit of riding, running, and going to the gym. Here are various posts from 2022 with updates of my working out, plans, and how it was going from month-to-month (see posts).

Carrie traveled down to Houston, TX back in June to visit our friend Corrie and her kids. She had a great time. While Carrie was away, I grilled out every night and had a good time myself (see post). After Carrie got back from Houston, we both came down with COVID (see post where we were both sick). During that time following being sick, I fell out of working out regularly but quickly started up again once I was back to 100%. That was our first time to get COVID and it sucked the life out of both of us. We were happy to be done with it and healthy again.

In July, I turned the big 50 and we had a big celebration in Fredericksburg, TX with family and friends. We had a great time. Read about our adventure in the August 7 post. On our way back from Texas at the end of July, we received bad news that Carrie’s uncle Robert passed away. He had been battling cancer and we received word that he had passed on our way back from Fredericksburg, TX. After we got back to Topeka, we had a few days and then headed down to Texas for his funeral.

I started Weight Watchers in August and it went well until November, but as I mentioned earlier, we are planning to get back on it and stick with it in the new year. I really do feel better when we are eating well, so anxious to get it started again. 

Oliver Wanting to go Outside
September 21, 2022, Carrie and I celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary (see post) and then in November 2022, we went to Aruba for the celebration (see post). We had a great time celebrating and looking forward to going back to Aruba or someplace with a beach, chairs, and the ocean. 

October 2022, the King Biscuit Blues Festival returned. Such a fun time with great music and good to see all of our friends. Read about our adventure in the October 2022 post. Looking forward to going again next year.

November and December seem like a blur. The days, weeks, and months flew by for the past two months. The whole year has flown, but November and December seemed like they went faster than all  the other months. Simply flew is all I can say. 

I appreciate you visiting my site to read my updates. I am happy that I have been able to post every Sunday for the past two years. I have not missed a week of posting with some weeks posting more than one post and others I get just the one post. I plan to continue this for 2023 as I find I like to go back and review what I have posted in past years. I also am going to try and take more pictures to use for these updates as Carrie and I do various things throughout the year. 

Have a Happy and Safe New Year! I will talk to you in the New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas 2022! Have a Happy and Safe Christmas!

Carrie and John at White Linen for Dinner
Christmas seemed to really sneak up on me this year. Like the year flying by, the holiday got here quick and we are celebrating Christmas 2022. Wow! Looking forward to being with family during the holiday weekend. We had a wintery mix with cold temperatures as we headed into the holiday weekend.  

Back in April 2022 I won some auction items at a Washburn Athletics fund raiser and we were able to take advantage of one by staying the Cyrus Hotel in downtown Topeka. We were able to take Oliver, so he was able to enjoy the time in the hotel. Since we were downtown, we wanted to have dinner at White Linen and we were able to go with Greg and Erin who had not been there until this visit. We went to the hotel Thursday afternoon and had dinner that evening. We had a wonderful time and it was so good to eat dinner and then head back to our hotel room to relax. Oliver loves hotels, so he had a great time even though it was bitterly cold outside, he did his business quickly so we could get back to the room.

Christmas Eve we are in Lawrence to see my Mom and some family who will be able to make it in that day. On Christmas Day, we will be at Greg and Erin’s for the day. We were closed at work on Thursday do to the wintery mix that moved through. I find I am all mixed up on my days. It felt like Friday on Thursday and I am not sure what Friday felt like, but it certainly was not Friday. 

Have a happy and safe Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Pictures, Memories, and Goal for More Pictures in 2022 to Help with Blog Posts

Beautiful Sunset on December 5, 2022
Beautiful Sunset on 12/5/2022.

Leaving work one evening, I looked out across the Washburn University campus and it was so beautiful, I had to snap a picture. Captured the color of the sky, the lights of Winter Walk, and I could not resist taking a picture. What a way to start December with beautiful scenery as I am leaving work. I remember driving home that evening and I could not take my eyes off of the western sky as it lit my way home. Reminded me of all of the perfect sunrises and sunsets I saw as I went to and from work in 2021 (see January 2022 post). One of those where I know it is happening all the time, but I am not in the right location to see the beautiful sky when it does happen. 

I am trying to take more pictures which will certainly be a goal for 2023. How many times have I seen something and walked away thinking I should have taken a picture. It happens all the time and so I am trying to change and have actually been increasing my picture taking the past few months. I want to keep it going into 2023 though and take even more pictures. Doing so allows me to use pictures I take for posts and I can often times wrap around a story to the picture. The pictures also allow me to go back and review what we did during a specif week, month, or year as I find that I do that often these days reviewing the almost 9,000 images on my Flickr Account. The same pictures are synced to my iCloud account, so I see many pictures on my phone, desktop, and iPad throughout the day.

Oliver Sleeping on the Couch Keeping His Face Warm
Oliver Sleeping and Warm Face

As you can imagine, there are a lot of pictures of our dog, Oliver. We take pictures when watching television and look over and he is sleeping. The one to the left Carrie sent me one day when it was cold in our house and he was sleeping, but keeping his face warm in the blankets. Poor guy cannot get warm enough in our drafty house. So, there he is on my Flickr page for my memories to see over-and-over as it continues to display for me over the next few months on my various devices. Seeing these pictures makes me smile and can help to bring a calm during a stressful day when pictures of our dog display on my screen saver of my phone.

Here we are a week out from Christmas Day. So much to do before next weekend both at work and at home. Short week for work, so that will be good. Looking forward to seeing family, friends, and enjoying some time off of work.

Have a great week before the holiday weekend!

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Completed the GoodReads 2022 Reading Challenge of Twenty Books and Thinking New Goal for 2023

Met My 2022 Reading Goal
Met My 2022 Reading Goal

A year ago I set a goal to read twenty books for 2022. This was done on GoodReads where I have been a member for a while now. I have tried their challenge a few times setting goals for five or ten books in the past. This is the first time I have completed my goal and actually exceeded my set goal.

The year is not over and I have read 21 of 20 books so far. I hope to be able to complete two more books before the year is finished. I am about halfway through one book and then during the break between Christmas and New Years, I should be able to get another book completed.

I read every day for the past year. There was not one day where I did not read at least a few pages. Whether it was on vacation, at blues festival, or exhausted from a day of work, I found time to read. According to Kindle stats, I have read for a streak of 359 days and 58 weeks in a row which I obviously started before the New Year started a year ago. 

During the year, I have read a few series. C.J. Box is the recent series I have been reading. I really enjoy his books and story. Another series that I enjoyed was from L.T. Ryan about Racheal Hatch. I enjoyed the history of Code Girls that I read through a book group on-line. I want to do more with that book group as it gets me to read books that I might normally read and then interact with others that are reading the same book.

Full details of the books in the image above can be viewed on my GoodReads 2022 Reading Challenge page. I am thinking about my goal for 2023 and while I do not want to go crazy by picking a larger number I could not possibly hit, I do want to do more than twenty books for 2023. I am thinking I will probably increase it by five and go for twenty-five for 2023. I was ahead of schedule during 2022 on my target, but I would have to double the effort to hit thirty books if I go that high. Granted, there were weekends and evenings where I could have been reading but decided to watch television, sleep, or just relax, but it is possible I could increase the time I spend reading which would help me to meet a higher goal. We will see what I select for my new reading challenge.

I have always enjoyed reading when I made time to do so. I enjoy getting into a story and escaping through the story to whatever setting the author is describing. I am happy to say that reading is a part of my regular day that I make sure to complete no matter what and I intend to keep this going through 2023.

What are your favorite books? Do you have one to recommend based on the series I have read? You can connect with me on GoodReads through my profile.

Sunday, December 04, 2022

The Movie “Spirited” (2022) Became My New Favorite Holiday Movie After Watching Friday Night

November is over and we are into Christmas music and movies. Everywhere I look there are decorations. It is a fun time of year. This past Thursday, we went to watch Christmas Vacation (1989) at B&B Theaters where we had a great time watching an old movie I have seen hundreds of times on TV, but on the big screen this time. A big bag of popcorn, Hot Tamales, and a big beer in a comfy chair was perfect. We had a great time and it was fun to watch the movie with a crowded theater.

Friday night, Carrie and I decided to watch Spirited (2022). I have a new favorite movie. Spirited is on Apple TV. I was not expecting a lot from Spirited, but so happy we watched it. I had all the emotions with laughing, crying, laughing, and sadness. Featuring Ryan ReynoldsWill Ferrell, and Octavia Spencer. While it was a musical, it had a good story and kept Carrie and I engaged in the movie. We both loved it! Following the end of the movie, I went out and found the soundtrack of Spirited on Apple Music. I have been listening to the album each day since Friday night.

Spirited is a different take on the Charles Dickens classic although it is a musical and a different twist. If you are looking for a new Christmas movie for the holidays, I highly recommend that you check out Spirited. It seems everyone I have spoken to about the movie have agreed how great of a movie it is. Carrie and I plan to watch the movie again and maybe a few times before the holidays are over. If you do not have a Apple TV subscription, I suggest that you get one for the holidays so you can watch Spirited.

I remember my Dad when he would go to movies, he always liked the movies where he came away feeling good. Spirited had me come away feeling good and reflective on the holidays. I hope you have a chance to watch or whatever your favorite movie is for the holiday season.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Not Working Out, Gaining Weight, and Lost Motivation Since Before Camping Trip in October

Weight Tracking Since Start

I went on vacation and I have not worked out since our trip back at the beginning of November. I worked out one day while we were on vacation and that has been it. I have also completely stopped doing Weight Watchers which is rather disappointing. Going into Thanksgiving Day I had plans to get back on tracking weight this weekend, but the motivation is completely gone.

For three months I did Weight Watchers every day. It worked as I had lost a little over 20 lbs prior to our vacation. I got all the way down to 237. Just a few weeks after my last work out and tracking weight and I am already up to 248. Tough to take off but goes on quick! 

The last time I rode the bike was almost a month ago. So, going camping, vacation, and then enjoying Thanksgiving disrupted my weight loss. I plan to get back to it but taking a break from tracking for now. I plan to not go crazy with eating, but I am not tracking anything I eat. I plan to start it up again in the next week and I want to start riding the bike again too.

I half thought about waiting to track again after December ends, but I think that is too long and it will make it all that more difficult to start it again in January. My goal is to lose about 40 lbs at this point which will get me down to my target weight. To get to my target weight, I need to adjust how I eat. During vacation, and a few times since vacation, I can think of a few times when I ate so much I was full. If I could adjust and keep food to eat later or the next day, this would help a lot. I am happy that prior to going on vacation I lost 20 lbs but now the work needs to start again to continue to my target weight.

Hopefully next week I will have an update of at least getting back on the bike. No plans currently to track food this week, but going to try for moderation of what I eat which can be tough at times.

Until next time, have a great week.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving! Have a Great Thanksgiving 2022!

Happy Thanksgiving 2022!
Thanksgiving is Time for Pie!

Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving! For the first time since 2020, my family will be getting together on Thanksgiving Day. We are meeting at my Mom's and enjoying company and food. I cannot wait! It will be the first time in a few years that we will all be together. It will be good to see everyone. Later in the day, Carrie and I will head back to Topeka to celebrate Thanksgiving with Shirrons' which is always delicious food and good company.

Please be safe and take care of your family and friends. Reach out to them and let them know how much they mean to you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Trip to Aruba to Celebrate Our Twenty Year Wedding Anniversary from September 21, 2022

Carrie and John in Kansas City Airport Waiting for Delayed Flight
Carrie and John in KC Airport
Carrie and I celebrated 20 years of marriage back on September 21, 2022 (see post) and we were able to take a trip to celebrate our anniversary in November. We scheduled our trip months ago and we were gone from November 6 - 14. We were scheduled to fly out early Sunday, November 6, so we arrived at the airport at 5 am and as we were heading to the counter, we get an alert our flight is delayed. Great! Now our flight leaves at noon, so we completely miss our connecting flight in Miami, FL. The flight was delayed due to “crew rest”, so as it was the airline problem, American Airlines put us up in a hotel in Miami along with some food vouchers. 

Hanging at Bar in Airport Waiting for Flight
Airport Bar and Shows
Carrie and I spent the morning at the Kansas City airport where there is not much to do hanging out at a Budweiser Bar. Drinking beer at 10:30 in the morning, reading, eating, and watching shows on our devices. It was a rather enjoyable morning even though we should have been well on our way to Miami and to Aruba later in the day. Instead, we hung out in Kansas City until our flight was to leave. We arrived late afternoon in Miami and took a taxi to our hotel. 

We talked about venturing out in Miami to see the sights, but getting up at 4 am to get to our scheduled flight had us both rather sleepy, so we decided to eat at the hotel. Expensive meal at the hotel, but it was good food and we enjoyed some delicious drinks. Following dinner, we headed back to our room for the evening. Our flight on Monday was scheduled to fly out at noon, so we went out for breakfast near the hotel. Enjoyable lazy morning although we both had hoped we would have been on the beaches of Aruba by Monday morning, we were enjoying our time in Miami.

Carrie and John in First Class Enjoying Travel
Carrie and John First Class
For the first time ever when flying, we flew first class. Months ago when we were looking at flights and watching the prices fluctuate, we decided to do first class. It was amazing! Not sure we will be able to fly any other way on long flights. We enjoyed the space, the food, and the drinks. Great way to fly out even though our first day was delayed, we had a great time. The food on the plane was excellent! So many ways to connect devices too.

Dinner at Elements located in Bucuti Resort
Dinner at Elements
By the time we arrived at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, it was evening, so we had dinner at Elements which is located on the Bucuti property and then headed out to the beach for an evening stroll. It was so nice hearing the waves crash into the shore as we strolled along the beach. It was good to have finally made it to Aruba. So excited for the week ahead of us and ready to start exploring plus soaking up the sun. Tuesday morning we were going to get our car rental that we would have for the week and go to the grocery store to pick up some snacks and drinks for the week. We went to our first breakfast on site and it was delicious which was a great way to start the day and time at the resort.

Eagle Beach at Bucuti Resort
Eagle Beach at Bucuti Resort
We spent the afternoon at Eagle Beach which is where Bucuti is located. Enjoyed our first day beachside and everything that comes with hanging out at the beach. Tuesday night we were going to a German Restaurant that Carrie had found. Good food, but there was only one guy that could take orders for the entire place. One of those instances where we will need to go back to see if it is the same or always lousy attention on the customer. Beer was good though as I enjoyed a few different German beers. Yum!

Arikok National Park Natural Pool
Arikok National Park Natural Pool
Tuesday morning we had planned a very early start to the day with a sunrise walk at Arikok National Park. The hike out to the natural pool was about 1.5 miles, so it was a good hike early in the morning. The hike to the pool was dark but we are so glad we scheduled the tour and hike. It was amazing! Beautiful scenery we were able to swim in the natural pool which was incredible. I had no idea that Aruba was built from volcanos. As we were walking the trail, noticed a lot of rock that was dark and looked like volcanic rock. Sure enough, our guide said the whole island was built from volcanos although no active volcanos in the area for years. The trail was tough going at times with steep inclines, but it was so worth the journey. Our guide was great and took a number of pictures of us while we were in the natural pool.

Arikok National Park
Arikok National Park

Arikok National Park Splashing Waves
Arikok National Park Splashing Waves

Arikok National Park as We Walk
Arikok National Park as We Walk

Carrie found Fins & Feet Nature Tours which is who we used for the guided tour in the national park. Monica, our tour guide, was excellent! Knowledgeable and she said she does the hike we were doing daily. Highly recommend Fins & Feet Nature Tours for your tours in Aruba. Following our tour, back to Bucuti for breakfast. We were then headed out on the town to catch lunch and do some shopping. 

Everywhere we ate, I tried to do some type of seafood. I think I did pretty good overall as I am not sure I ate anything other than seafood everywhere we went. Here are some of the foods I was able to capture. Carrie does a much better job of remembering where I had each of these items, but the food was so good everywhere we went… I was just lucky to snap a picture before I gobbled up the delicious food.

Dinner in Miami
Dinner in Miami

Romantic Dinner is Seafood
Romantic Dinner is Seafood

Seafood Lunch So Good!
Seafood Lunch at Bistro

Shrimp at West Deck in Aruba
Shrimp at West Deck

Carrie Relaxing and Reading on Baby Beach
Carrie Relaxing and Reading
We did a lot of relaxing and reading on the beaches. I only got one book read while we were in Aruba, but Carrie read four or five books. I had hoped to read more, but I am happy with the amount of reading I completed. We visited so many wonderful spots and would not have done it any other way. 

Romantic Dinner at Elements on the Beach of Bucuti
Romantic Dinner on Baby Beach
November 10, we had scheduled a romantic evening on the beach for dinner. Good food with my beautiful wife. Food was really good and we had a bottle of wine to enjoy privately while steel drums played in the background. 

Carrie and John at Baby Beach in Aruba
Carrie and John at Baby Beach
For those that do not know, Carrie and I met on a cruise back in 2001. The cruise consisted of people from Topeka, Manhattan, Lawrence, and Kansas City with around 150 people from the area going on the cruise. I was going with friends from Washburn and knew a few people but this is the trip where Carrie and I met and fell in love. One of the ports we visited on that first cruise was Baby Beach in Aruba. One of the reasons we selected Aruba for our anniversary trip was because we had been here back when we first met and had fond memories of Aruba and Baby Beach. It was good to be back at Baby Beach which was about a 30 - 40 minute drive from Bucuti Resort. Easy drive and so worth the trip. We took a cooler full of drinks and enjoyed those while having fun at the beach. It rained briefly on us while we were at the beach, but soon the sun came out and we enjoyed our time.

Sails for Evening Cruise
Sails on Ship for Evening Cruise
The evening of November 11, which was the same day we went to Baby Beach, we went on an evening sail. Again, wow! It was amazing! So beautiful to see the shore from the sea and it had drinks that we were certainly enjoying on the evening sail. That evening, we went to a place to eat that was close to our resort and it was amazing! Probably helped we had been enjoying drinks most of the day and into the evening, but we had a great time at dinner before walking back to the resort.

Piña colada On the Beach
Piña colada On the Beach
After spending most of the week at the beach, we decided to spend the day on Saturday, November 12 at the pool. It was nice not having to get sand off of our feet. Wonderful time hanging around the pool, reading, eating, and having Piña colada‘s. They were so good and perfect on the beach or at the pool. We had already had a few of them earlier in the week while at the beach, so it was good to have them pool side too. 

As Sunday rolled around, the sadness was starting to kick in that it was our last full day in Aruba. We went to breakfast early so we could get out to the beach earlier in the day. Another enjoyable day hanging out at the beach reading, drinking, and playing in the ocean. That evening, we went out on the town to have one last fancy dinner in Aruba. Another good spot and good way to spend our last evening in Aruba.

Lunch at West Deck Before Airport
Lunch at West Deck
Monday, November 14 we were scheduled to fly out in the afternoon, so we made our way to town and ate a good lunch at a local favorite. Had some drinks as we had some time to kill before we needed to return the car to the rental and get to the airport.

We had a great time at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort and I would highly recommend staying there. They took good care of us in the restaurant, the bar, and throughout the resort. Getting around Aruba in a rental car is the way to go. It was cheap and easy to navigate. There are so many wonderful places to eat on the island, it was fun to try all the different places and see the different areas of the island. It was our first time at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, but I expect we will be back again in the future. 

Cheers to Carrie!
Cheers to Carrie!

We had a wonderful time in Aruba! I cannot wait to go back. I am so happy that Carrie and I were able to make this trip, celebrate together, and enjoy time together. It was much needed and fun to disconnect, for the most part, from life and enjoy each other. Happy Anniversary, Carrie! I love you!

We are already talking about where we will go next time. Visiting Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, which was not an all-inclusive, was a fun change. I really enjoyed visiting the places to eat and seeing the island. I cannot wait to go back!

To see full album of pictures, please see below where you can go through all of our pictures.

Aruba 2022

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed visting Aruba through our trip summary and pictures. Do you have a favorite spot in Aruba, we would love to hear from you and share in your experiences.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Exercise Stats from October Down from Prior Month Still Making Progress

October Monthly Workout Listing
Exercise stats from October were not great with being away for part of the month and then laziness kicked in a bit. I only ran a few times and did not ride the bike as much as I wanted to so I have work to do in November to get my numbers back up. I worked out a total of seven days for the month of October. Not very good! Again, it was a busy month where I was out of town the second week of the month for the blues festival. Not terrible, but certainly a drop from where I had been consistently working out each month.

Stats from October
November is already starting off rough with only a few workouts the first two weeks of the month. As long as I can get some workouts in the week of Thanksgiving and not go crazy with eating, I should be good. Still, it is an ongoing process just to be motivated and make time to get a workout into my weekly schedule. It is so easy to come home from work and just sit down in the chair to relax and suddenly I am asleep. I do enjoy my bike rides as well as my weekly runs that I was doing. As I mentioned in a prior update, I expect my weekly runs on Saturday mornings will come to an end with winter months approaching, but I am still thinking about adding the gym from Washburn so I can have that as an option on Saturday mornings. Again, the motivation to join the gym is not yet in place.

 Eleven workouts for October which was down twelve from the previous month. Wow! Really letting it slide and November is going to be worse. Every category is down from the previous month which is what happens when not working out on a regular basis. At this point, I think I will plan to get back on track following the weekend of Thanksgiving. 

Meanwhile, I continue my journey on doing Weight Watchers although I have taken a break or two from it the past week or two as well. More on that later, but for now, I just need to focus on riding the bike… or join the gym so I can run when it is cold cold cold outside. 

Enjoy the journey and ride on…

Sunday, November 06, 2022

Camping Weekend October 28 - 30 on the Saline River with Pictures and Description of Camping Experience with C2T and

Panoramic View of Our View From Camp Site

Only our second camping adventure of 2022, but we had a great time in western Kansas. We stayed at the C2T Ranch on the Saline River. Beautiful time of year to go camping and the weather was perfect! Carrie found this spot last year, but we did not have a chance to get out there last year. So, we decided as our second and final camping trip for 2022 we would do it here in late October. We booked our spot and headed out Friday morning to western Kansas.

Car Loaded Down for Trip
Car Loaded Down for Trip

We wanted to all ride in one car, so Carrie and I bought rails for the Pilot along with a luggage carrier for the top. Worked out great! We met at our house at 7 am to pack and get everything ready. It took us a little while to figure out the luggage carrier or to get it packed correctly. We finally got on the road about 9 am. Almost three hours to get to Hays, Kansas where we stopped to get some drinks before heading out to C2T Ranch on the Saline River. The C2T is north of Hays, KS by about 10 - 15 minutes, so we headed out to find our camping spot. Easy to find the C2T location where we met the owners and they led us out to our spot.

Tents Set up and Ready for the Weekend
Tents Set and Ready for Camping

Nice spot for us to set up our tents for the next two nights. The C2T has an option to buy unlimited firewood for $25 which we gladly took part in doing. We had a fire going most of the time we were there and it ran all day Saturday as we were cooking and hanging out at camp. More on this later though in this update.

Burgers and Potatoes on the Grill
Burgers and Potatoes on the Grill
Friday night we also took advantage of an option to have burgers and brats provided by C2T which worked out great! Burgers on the open flame were fantastic. I was too full to have a brat, but they looked good and heard they tasted great. They also served cut up potatoes which is in the picture on the left although foil is on it, so you cannot see them cooking. Everything was delicious!

We finished up dinner and hung out around the fire until about midnight. Talking, telling stories, and having a great time. We were commenting how during the day we were wearing short sleeves and could have worn shorts, but I think everyone had on long pants. By evening once the son went behind the trees, immediate drop in temperature, so we huddled around the fire. 

Tents at Night with Lights on in the Tents
Tents at Night with Lights

The tents at night our first night with the lights on within the tents looked so cool! I had to snap a picture of it as we have done all the other times we have gone camping too where the tent looks so cool at night.

Being out in the middle of nowhere with no city lights is always a high point for me. I cannot get over all of the stars or the feeling of vastness from being in the dark. It is a fun and spooky feeling not knowing what is out where I am looking. While we do have headlamps, they do not do a lot for what is happening away from our immediate area. Again, this is part of the fun of being in the middle of nowhere and not knowing what we are seeing as we look out into the darkness.

Tents in the Day
Tents in the Day Backdrop of Trees
I am not sure the pictures are doing justice to how amazing the trees looked while we were camping. We were all surprised to see the bluffs in and around where we were camping. We knew that's what C2T had mentioned, but seeing it was cool to see. We did not hike up into the bluffs as we had planned as it was difficult to get across the water at least the few places we checked to see if we could get across, we would have had to wade out into the water. Maybe our next trip to C2T we will hike up the bluffs.

Carrie and John in Front of Bluffs
Carrie and John in Front of Bluffs

We enjoyed touring the property to look at the bluffs that were throughout the area. I had driven through western Kansas many times and I have been out there for conferences at Fort Hays, but I had not ever been out to the country to see the views of bluffs or the incredible trees that were changing. I would be interested to go back in the spring, or early summer, to see what it is like in the area. Maybe take in the lazy river that goes around the property and to see how everything looks much different from when we visited in October.  I am hoping to go back to C2T in the future at a different time of year.

Carrie and Greg Hiking
Carrie and Greg Hiking

I mentioned we did tour around a little bit and got out and walked around. Not long hikes as we could not get across the low river, but hoping to do so the next time we visit C2T. There are a lot of paths or areas where we can walk to check out the property. 

As we were leaving, we talked about checking out other HipCamp sites in other states. A interesting way to see the country and to see areas we might normally see if we were camping at a state camp ground. Carrie and I have talked about doing something similar in Arkansas, but have not yet made that jump yet. My hope is that in 2023, we do a lot more camping and hopefully in different locations and states. Colorado is still on the list to do at some point, but we heard that those spots have to be booked out way in advance.

Part of the Saturday afternoon cooking was Carrie making Beef Bourguignon. Below are pictures of the process from basically the start to the end. One item I left out of the pictures was the bacon cooking, but figured you get the idea.

Dinner Saturday Night Was an All Afternoon Event
Beef Bourguignon Starting

Beef Bourguignon Wine Added
Beef Bourguignon Wine Added

Beef Bourguignon Veggies Added
Beef Bourguignon Veggies Added

Beef Bourguignon Finished
Beef Bourguignon Finished

This was the first attempt at Beef Bourguignon and it turned out great! It was really good and fun to watch it take shape during the afternoon while we played Rook.

I would highly recommend C2T and we hope to return there at a future date. The overall experience with HipCamp was easy and enjoyable. Sad that the camping season has come to an official end, for us, but looking forward to 2023 when we triple or quadruple our camping events.

Thank you for reading and have a great week! If you have used HipCamp or been to C2T, please comment to let me know. I would be happy to connect and discuss your favorite spots or your experience at C2T.


Sunday, October 30, 2022

Exercise, Weight Watchers, and Journey to Healthy Weight After Two Months of Weight Watchers

I started Weight Watchers back on August 14, 2022. I have been consistently tracking what I eat each week even when I knew it was going to be well over my points for that day. I have had a few days where I have gone way beyond the points for the day. I laughed because when I started Weight Watchers my daily points was around 42. After the first week, that dropped to 32 a day. I am enjoying the process and I think it is going well.

Here is history of my initial week through this weekend.

Date Weight Change Since Start 
10/28/22 236.8 -.6 -20.4
10/21/22 237.4 -1.2 -19.8
10/14/22 238.6 -4.2 18.6
10/1/22 242.8 -4 -14.4
9/25/22 246.8 +.4 -10.4
9/18/22 246.4 -5.4 -13
9/4/22 249.6 -1.2 -7.6
8/28/22 250.8 -2.4 -6.4
8/21/22 253.2 -4 -4
8/14/22 257.2 0 0

Overall, I have lost 20.4 lbs since my start. I am happy with the progress but still a long way to go. The only week I did not weigh in was the week of October 7. We had just returned from being out of town and did not get weight tracked that week. I am happy overall with how I have done after two months. Only one week where I gained week at weigh-in time, so not bad. I want to lose about another 30 - 35 lbs.

I was doing my day to weigh-in on Sunday morings, but realized if I moved my day to weigh-in to Friday morning, that might look a little better. Actually, this is a recent change where I started to do my weigh-in on Friday morning. The largest weeks to lose weight were August 21, September 18, September 25, October 1, and October 14. I am not sure why those days I lost more weight than other weeks. I know at some point I will have a period where I will gain weight or not lose anything at all. I am prepared mentally for those to occur and will not be discouraged.

I like how my clothes are fitting and I feel great! It is amazing what losing double digit pounds can do for my own internal image. It makes me feel great and I do not want to go back to the weight I was previously or how I felt when I was larger. I told someone recently that the largest I have been in my life was during 2020/2021 as I did nothing at all during that time except work, eat, drink, and sleep. I knew I had to do something when we started going back into work and my work clothes did not fit. Things had to change!

 So, I am off to a good start and a long way to go. I am enjoying exercising and I have things that keep me motivated. For me, that’s what it takes to keep me working out is to have motivation for the workout. For me, I like having an Apple Watch that tracks my workouts, heart rate, etc., so I can see that mapped out on my progress. The Weight Watchers app that tracks my weekly weight and let’s me know how I am doing also helps to keep me motivated. As I mentioned, I know that at some point I will have gains but hoping the losses are larger than the gains. I have to keep the motivation and encouragement to myself to keep this going.

As we move into winter months and it continues to get colder, I want to make sure I can run at least once a week. I am thinking about joining the Student Rec at Washburn again, but then I feel bad when I go months without using the gym. So, I am still thinking about it on whether I would want to join the gym just to be able to use the treadmill or weights. It is making sense to me and the cost is low, so I might do it at some point.

I will post another update around December/January, so hoping to still be positive and good news about my weight loss the next time. Until then, I will keep my bike riding, running, and walking to stay active.

Enjoy your workout and until next time, keep the workout going…

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Months, Days, Hours, and Minutes Fly By… Here We Are at the End of October 2022 and 2023 is Right Around the Corner

The second to last Sunday in October and the year marches on as we prepare for November. Please, pump the breaks a little bit, we are moving way too fast through the days, months, and years. The days only seem to going faster and faster. Seriously, it seems as though 2022 just began and only yesterday that it was 2020 and we were in the middle of COVID. Yet, here we are with just two months to go in 2022. Before we know what is happening, we will be halfway through 2023.

I remember as a kid thinking the days were dragging and saying such things as “I am so bored”. Oh, what I would do to go back to those days and slow movement of time. Of course back when I was a kid, when I was doing something fun such as being on vacation, playing a sport, or playing in the back yard, time would seem to fly. Pleading to stay up another hour past bedtime because I was having fun. The days that would run long were days in school, Church, etc., where time would drag. As an adult who is now 50, I find time flies no matter what it it that I am doing. Having fun, work, or chilling around the house, time flies.

I have written about how time seems to be going faster and faster as I get older, so I am not sure what it will be like when I am 60, 70, or 80. I know and understand time is not changing, but it is the perception of time that increases or decreases as we are doing other things. As I get older, will time continue to advance for my perception of time passing? When I talk to my Mom each evening, we usually talk about the day and what happened. She talks to me about how fast the days move, so it makes me think it will not get better. It makes me think I should research how to slow down my perception of time possibly with mediation. 

For today on this beautiful Sunday where I was able to run this morning I am trying to slow down the day. Keep the Sunday from moving fast before the week starts again and before I know it I will be posting about the first weekend of the first weekend of November. Slow down! Pump those breaks and keep this ride of life from going fast.

What do you do to keep the days from going too fast? How do you relax and slow down the sense of time moving too quickly? Do you meditate? Read a good book? What do you do to help with this feeling? Finally, if you are getting older, do you notice that time seems to be going faster as you get older?

Have a great week and I will talk to you next week!

Sunday, October 16, 2022

King Biscuit Blues Festival Returns and It Was Memorable for 2022

King Biscuit Blues Festival 2022
King Biscuit Blues Festival Main Stage

After two years of not having the King Biscuit Blues Festival (KBBF), it was sure good to be back at The Biscuit! It will go down as one of the most memorial festivals in my memory of attending. Days were beautiful and yes I had some favorite acts too.

It was so good to see many of our friends that we would normally see every year at KBBF. Eddie, Carrie, and I got down to Helena, AR Wednesday afternoon. Much earlier than we usually arrive as we wanted to make it by mid-afternoon to help with some stage items that were happening for a tribute to Bubba who passed since the last time we had a festival. We had a fun night.

Delta Dirt Distillery

Carrie and I decided to stop by Delta Dirt Wednesday afternoon as we figured it might be our only time to be able to stop by there to see. As it turned out, Carrie and Javier were able to go there the later in the week. Carrie and I thought the place was going to be so busy would not be able to get into try it out. It was really good! I want to go back and try it when they are not limited on their drink selections. We sat at the bar and enjoyed our drinks. Yes, we could have had more because they were so good, but we wanted to get back to help out at the stage.

Drinks at Delta Dirt

Good way to start out the festival. Normally on Wednesday when we arrive at the festival, we go out to eat some place. This night, we were down around the stage helping out where needed and really having a good time catching up with everyone.

Once again this year, I did not take as many pictures as I had planned. I took a few Wednesday and a few more on Thursday. That was about it. I had also planned to record notes and information for each day from the various acts, but instead I only worked, drank, and ate. So, I had a good time and enjoyed myself.

Carrie and I with Friends

We spend a lot of time down in the "Next Act Only" area. This is where the crew hangs out, watching, talking, and laughing. As acts pull up to the area, we help them carry their equipment to the stage. Between acts, we help prepare acts for their set.

For Thursday, the first band started at 11 am. The rest of the days, the first act was at noon. So, it is not too bad and drinking cold beer throughout the day helps.

Corrie Posing with Carrie’s Hat
Corrie Posing in Carrie’s Hat
Eddie, Corrie, and Carrie Selfie
Eddie, Corrie, and Carrie Selfie

Tommy and Carrie Selfie
Tommy and Carrie Selfie

Aunt Carol and Carrie Selfie
Aunt Carol and Carrie Selfie

Bart and John Selfie on Main Stage
Bart and John Selfie on Main Stage

Javier and Carrie at Delta Dirt
Javier and Carrie at Delta Dirt

 See the full album from Carrie and I on Flickr Album Kings Biscuit Blues Festival 2022.

Great to be back at The Biscuit! Fun to see everyone. This will certainly go down as one of my most memorable festivals. Long break since the last festival and then everyone got together and it was as if never had a break.

Until next time, have a great week!