Sunday, August 28, 2022

Rambling Along on a Weekend About Sports, Books, Camping, and Whatever Else Comes to Mind

Carrie and John at Tailgate in 2013
Carrie and John from 2013
Rambling along on a Sunday is what this post is about. Not one specific thing to discuss or talk about today, but various items that may or may not connect together. That’s what happens sometimes as I go to think about what to write for my Sunday update. In this edition, I will talk sports, books, camping, and anything else that comes to mind that I feel like sharing. I hope you find these as interesting as my other weeks posts about specific events or topics.


The days are getting shorter and believe it or not, the temperature is starting to drop too. We have had some really nice weather the past week or two, so we can see fall is approaching. Granted, we had at least two days this past week that were in the upper 90s, but the evenings are so nice. The shorter days and lower temperatures mean only one thing… football is starting. 

Washburn Football

Washburn plays our first game of the season at home on Thursday, September 1. I cannot wait! We finally have a parking spot in the tailgate this year, so I am excited to have that although it is a ways from our “spot” it will be nice to have the car close for everything we pack and not having to walk a distance to get it to our “spot”. We will still be by the flag pole in the northeast corner of the field. I am doing Weight Watchers, so planning to eat a little better at this tailgate with Subway for dinner and some Michelob Ultra beers for watching the game. We only have five home games and we will miss at least one which will be the last game of the season. I might find a way to get out for part of the game, but too early to say at this point. 

We had a great season last year and I expect to see another great season this year too. Last year we had some memorable victories at home and even one where our neighbor ran on to the field after we won. Good times! I am looking forward to another fun round of games at home and on the road. I renewed my subscription for streaming Washburn sports as well as our season tickets to football in case we decide to go into the stadium. I think it is going to be a fun season and I cannot wait to get it started on Thursday. Go Bods!

Washburn Volleyball

We love going to volleyball games. I watched the whole season streaming last year and it was a wonderful season. Every year we say we are going to go to a lot of volleyball games and the season flies by with us only going to a few. I am hoping to get to a lot more games this year. I have them on my calendar and I know Carrie is interested in going to more of them this year too, so we will plan to cheer on the volleyball team at home this year in-person. I am watching an away game this morning as I write this update on Saturday morning with Washburn playing Midwestern. We started the season Thursday and we are already off to a good start… season is young, but expect great things from the team again this season. 

If you have not been out to a volleyball game, you should make it a point to get out to a match. It is so fun! Even though I do not know/recall all of the rules for volleyball, we have fun cheering on our team. I love the fact that as the final point is about to be scored the home crowd stands and claps until the point is won. Yes, I realize this is not unique to Washburn volleyball, but it makes it a fun environment and us as fans like we are helping the team along to the win.

Fantasy Football and Baseball

The baseball season is coming to an end. The Royals are in another struggling year, but still having fun watching their games and the new talent. I am in two fantasy baseball leagues and while I am not sure I have ever won a fantasy baseball league, I have fun setting my rosters each day and following the games for each of my players. Fantasy sports is a lot of making the right decision on who to play, who to draft, and when to bench a player, but it is also a lot of luck. At one point during this season, I had the majority of my roster in one league on the IR. With all of the “good” players drafted, it makes it difficult to go out to the waiver wire to pick up quality players, so sometimes it is necessary to use up spots on the roster with injured players. Again, this is what makes it fun to struggle through IR instances or survive the season without a single injured player where when I have had this occur, I am toward the top of the rankings. All part of the game and it is so fun!

Fantasy football is starting up and this week I will be drafting in the two leagues I take part. One league is a free league and the other is one where we put in money for fun. Both are a lot of fun and both I am in with friends, so it is a good time. I love baseball, but I really like fantasy football. Unlike baseball where I have to check my roster daily, make changes, etc., in fantasy football I check a few times a week to make changes. Typically prior to Thursday, when there are games, prior to Sunday, and then again on Monday. A final check to see who I can pick up on waivers to prepare for the next week of play. It is so fun!

Typically at some point during the season, usually for football, the league finds a time to meet up at a local establishment to watch a game and talk some trash. I love it when we are able to connect during the season (baseball or football) to watch a game, have a few drinks, and what some of “our” players in a game. All part of the fun of the season.

Kansas City Chiefs

Speaking of football, who is ready for the Chiefs season to begin? We came up short last year and looking to have a great season this year, I cannot wait for it to start. It all starts on Sunday, September 11 with Kansas City Chiefs playing Arizona Cardinals. Looking forward to seeing us on the field and Mahomes leading us down the field. Football happens to be one of the sports Carrie does not enjoy to watch, but it is one of my favorite things to do on a Sunday. Football all afternoon and even better when my Chiefs are playing. 

Last season I remember we started out slow losing some early season games. I recall social media saying our season was over and then we came to life and started winning. I am hoping not to start off slow this year and have game mode at the start of the season. Do not let teams back into games, but finish them early and keep the heat on throughout the game to the end. We lost the first four of seven games last year and people were saying our season was over, but yet we turned it around. Let’s not start that way this season! Let’s go Chiefs!

Books and Reading

Kindle Book Reading on a Saturday
Reading with Kindle
I continue the enjoyment of reading. I started January 2022 with the goal of reading 20 books for the year and so far I have read 14 books. I have read every day since January 1, 2022 which has been a nice change. I typically read every night before going to sleep, so sometimes I read for just a few minutes to thirty or 40 minutes before falling asleep. It is a nice way to wind down, ignore the phone, email, and social media to just relax and enjoy a book. I continue to read on my Kindle which I love and I have anywhere from two to three books downloaded at any one time to the device in airplane mode so I do not lose them when they are due back at the library. Work out nice except sometimes I miss books I have reserved because I cannot come out of airplane mode or I will lose some of my books. 

Currently I am reading “Where the Crawdads Sing” which happens to also be in theaters. I am really enjoying this book and I look forward to seeing the movie. Prior to this book, I had been reading a lot of series. An eight book series by L.T. Ryan, I only have one book left. I had to take a break from the series though, but I plan to finish up that last book in the near future. I have another series Carrie started me on by C.J. Box which as been really good and I am about three books into that series. Again, I took a little break while I read some other books that were on my list.

At the rate I am going, I think I will exceed my 20 book goal for the year. Only a few short months and the year will be changing, but I think I can finish strong and go a ways past my twenty book target. It will be the most books I have read in one year. It has been a fun process and I look forward to continuing the goal for next year.


We have only been camping once this year. It was early spring that we went. We were hoping to go again, but it was a busy summer and the fall is turning out to be busy too. I have hope we can fit in one more weekend get away to go camping. The difficult part is that there are sports happening that I want to see, blue festival in early October, and other events happening that prevent us from taking a weekend. Still, I hope we can find a weekend to take Oliver and get to be lakeside somewhere to enjoy the outdoors and some good books.

Next year, I hope we can make it to more than four camp sites. We went to three sites last summer with four total as we went to one spot twice, so I am hoping to make it to just as many next summer if not more. Start a little earlier in the spring and go later in the fall, we might be able to beat that camping number.

End of Rambling

The end of August is right around the corner and I wish the days would slow down just a little. Going by way too fast as we watch 2022 speed by. I hope to have some future posts about sports that we attend as well as books I am reading. Of course, I also hope to have a camping trip in the near future, but not sure when that will occur. For now, I am trying to slow down the days and enjoy reading a good book or enjoying a sporting event. 

I hope you have a great rest of the weekend and can enjoy some quiet time before the busy week starts again.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Started Weight Watchers on August 14 and Finishing One Week… Feeling Good and Ready to Keep Going!

I have officially started Weight Watchers. I started last Sunday, so I am finishing up my first week watching what I eat. I have enjoyed the process so far as I use the app to count points and track what I eat. It is all done on-line now and no need to go into the physical location. This is my first time trying Weight Watchers, or really any type of weight management program, so I am excited to see how it works. 

Tomorrow marks my first weigh-in since starting last week. It was a descent start to the program although on Monday, I used up all of my daily points and tapped into weekly points. Friday night was also not a good night for me as I ate more than my daily points, had a few glasses of wine, and a delicious peach cobbler to celebrate Greg’s birthday. I am not expecting to lose a lot of weight this first week, but I do feel really good! It is amazing how much better I feel when eating well, not drinking (as much) alcohol and I am excited to be doing this program.

I have been staying on my bike this week and I am feeling good when I ride. I rode last Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I plan to start the new week riding on Sunday too. I know I have said it a few times the past few months, but I still want to get some jogging in at least once a week before it gets cold. I keep thinking I will start it up on a Saturday, but so far it has not started.

A little more about my experience with Weight Watchers and the app… Easy to use. I can search for foods, or I like it best when I can scan and have it added. I have free foods which include popcorn, fruits, eggs, and poultry. Even though I have items that are free, I have been entering them to track what I am eating. The app works well although it would be nice if I could copy foods from one day to the current day. It seems like this would be an easy process, but the times I have tried to do this step, it moves the food from the day it was entered to the current day instead. I did find that I can connect with others through the app although not sure what it does exactly. I thought maybe I could encourage others, or they could encourage me, but so far it only appears to show anything if a post is written and shared. Still working through the app and what options are available.

We are approaching tailgate season, so I hope to stay on track even when tailgating this fall for Washburn football. Ready to cheer on the Ichabods and do some tailgating now that we have a tailgate parking spot. Excited to get out there for the first game which is September 1.

Watch for future updates on my Weight Watchers status and hoping to have some updates about jogging soon too.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Visiting New Wine and Cocktail Lounge Plus New Coffee Shops in Topeka and Future Ta Co Coming to Downtown Topeka

A new place by us opened back in July and we finally tried them Saturday night. The new place is called Salut Wine & Cocktail Lounge. We had a great time and the place was packed. We sat on the reservations side even though we did not have a reservation. Good to have connections with Erin. Salut went into the location where a baking shop (Josey Baking Co) was previously located, so it is a small space taking up two store fronts. One side has the bar and some seating and the other is the reservations side.

Salut has a good selection of wines and cocktails as well as items to eat. I had a cocktail that was not a typical Old Fashion, but it sure tasted like one. Salut is within walking distance from our house, so I could see Carrie and I walking there one weekend night to get a drink. We did ask and they are dog friendly, so we could take Oliver and enjoy a drink on their patio. Well, that’s if no other dogs are there or else Oliver would become territorial and try to protect us from the other dog.

Other new businesses have opened recently in Topeka which is fun. We have three new coffee places that have opened. Last weekend Carrie and I went to the Coffee Bar located across the street from Washburn University in the location where PT’s Coffee was formally located. We had breakfast and coffee and spent the morning reading. Similar set up to what PT’s was previously, although more options for breakfast. I had the biscuits and gravy which was some of the best I have had out. I believe the Coffee Bar recently opened within the past month or two, so they are having some learning to do as they lost our coffee order and had to enter it again. We were also disappointed that our cappuccino, and later drip coffee, were served in disposable cups. Next time we go there, I will make sure to ask for a real cup as that is part of the treat of going to a coffee shop. Overall, it was very good and I look forward to going back.

Another new coffee spot that opened recently is Circle Coffee. We have not been there yet, but it looks like a spot we will go soon. Circle Coffee went into the location where a laundromat had been for many years behind Dairy Queen on 17th Street. The place looks great from the outside and they have a nice patio that we have observed. Carrie noticed they have a garage door that can roll up for their patio which would be fun to visit as it gets cooler. 

Not a coffee place, but we were excited to read recently that Ta Co is coming to downtown Topeka. We went to Ta Co when it was located in Lawrence, but closed down in May. As reported by WIBW, the building at 735 S Kansas Ave will be demolished and then a new building constructed with Ta Co being on the top as a rooftop restaurant. Sounds so fun and we know Ta Co is a good spot, so happy to hear it is coming to downtown Topeka.

Fun to see new places opening in Topeka especially after the past few years were tough and some places closed. It is good for Topeka and I cannot wait to try out the new places. Enjoy and let me know what you think of the new places and your experience at the new places.

Sunday, August 07, 2022

50 Birthday Celebration in Fredericksburg Was a Success! Great Time in Wine Country!

Me Acting Like Carrie Taking a Selfie and Corrie Taking Me Taking My Own Picture
We started planning my 50th birthday celebration back in December or January. Narrowed down the locations from remote beaches, sea side in the United States, to wine country locations. I made the decision I liked wine and we would revisit Fredericksburg (Fred), Texas. We had visited Fred back in 2020 prior to COVID occurring and had a great time, so it seemed like a good place to visit and have some fun. We decided on a VRBO house after going through a few dozen or so locations that we all reviewed, gave feedback, etc., but finally decided on one that could hold six of us and it had a pool.

Car Trip to Texas for Birthday Weekend
Our trip was scheduled for when my birthday would occur, so we planned for July 20 through July 26. During our trip we took a lot of pictures. I picked out some for this update, but others can be seen on my Flickr site. Yes, we took over 280 pictures although some are duplicates, there are a lot of photos of our fun and wineries we visited. Below, I will attempt to outline what we did each day and some of the wineries or restaurants we visited.

Wednesday, July 20

This was our travel day. Erin, Greg, Carrie, and I left Topeka bright and early this morning. We loaded up the car and we were on the road a little after 5 am. Oliver being watched by my mom. We thought about taking him, but it would have been too much for him, so I am glad we left him behind.

Uneventful trip which was good. Greg and I split up the drive, so it was not bad at all. It is around an 11 hour drive to our house. Really, the trip was not bad at all and when making the trip with others that can help with the drive, it makes it go by quickly. 

Picture from Hot Tub and Pool to Pool House
We arrived late afternoon and checked out our house for the week. I was so happy with the house we selected. After reviewing many different houses in different locations, I am so happy we decided on Sunny Oaks TX. So, we arrived, checked out the house and then went to get something to eat. Javier and Corrie meeting us on Thursday, so we were on our own for finding a place to eat. We went to Hondo’s On Main which Carrie and I had been to back in 2020. We had a spot near the bar and really good food and drinks. Had a good time for our first night in Fred before heading back to the house later that night. Of course we had to get in the pool when we got back to the house where we hung out until it was time for bed.

Thursday, July 21

Corrie Snapped a Picture of Me on Peloton
I woke up earlier and rode the Peloton for a while. Javier and Corrie were arriving to town today, so we were a little excited. Originally, we were going to meet them at the Hill Country Distillers, but plans changed and we would meet Corrie and Javier at the house. Greg and I were like little kids watching for our friends to arrive. I think I checked the front door a dozen times and then as the time approached they were supposed to arrive, we were both looking out the front door for their arrival. After their arrival, taking in their things, saying hello, and showing around the house, we left to go grab lunch.

We stopped by a place none of had been for lunch which was really good. High’s Cafe and Store with really good sandwiches and soups. It was a good way to lay a base before we started having some gin and whiskey at the distillers.

After lunch, we headed to Hill Country Distillers that Corrie, Javier, Carrie, and I had been to previously, but first time for Greg and Erin. I realized we only took one picture while we were at Hill Country Distillers which I think was due to our enjoyment of the variation of drinks. Good spot that I highly recommend checking out if you are near Comfort, Texas.

Headed into crossroad Steakhouse & Saloon

For dinner Thursday night, Corrie and Javier selected the spot and paid for our dinner. Thank you! It was a secret until the day they arrived and it was excellent! Crossroads Steakhouse & Saloon was the selection. It was wonderful! Everything from the drinks down to the dinner was excellent. I had the bone-in pork chop with Brussels sprouts. Oh my! Prior to dinner I had a classic martini and then Corrie and Javier got the table two bottles of wine. Fantastic spot for dinner and to start off our weekend of fun.

Following dinner, we went back to the house to get in the pool and enjoy some drinks around the pool in the Texas evening. It was wonderful!

Friday, July 22

This was our first day of visiting wineries, so we had to get a good base before we started. We went to what has become a tradition of visiting Mr. Gatti’s Pizza which is pizza buffet and salad. We went there back in 2020 and decided it would be good to go before we started the wineries. Following pizza, we had three wineries on the itinerary.

Augusta Vin Looking Out at the Vines

Augusta Vin is one of our favorites. Corrie, Javier, Carrie, and I had been there back in 2020 where Carrie and I have been club members since that first visit. We changed up our delivery to have a mixed wine box delivered four times a year. Previously, we had only reds delivered, but changed up the delivery to be a mix. All of their wines have been delicious and I have enjoyed their white wines when we visit, so decided to switch it up. We sat out on the VIP balcony and enjoyed a tasting followed by a glass of wine we shared. Enjoyable first day of visiting wineries. 

Heath Sparkling Wines

Heath Sparkling Wine at Grape Creet Vinyards was our next stop. We had tried to stop here back in 2020 not knowing they had just opened and it was by reservation only. This was sparkling wines paired with food. We all agreed we would go there to eat if the chef would do full meals. 

Corrie and Carrie at Heath Sparkling Wines The pairings were perfect and we learned the process of sparkling wines while we sampled. We did have a brief time where we were not sure if we were going to get in as there was some confusion with our reservation, but they grouped us together with two other ladies and everything worked out just fine. 

Following sparkling wines, we went back to red and white wines at Carter Creek Winery Resort & Spa which was a cool spot. Wine was good and had a huge outdoor area for events, cornhole, or just hanging out enjoy a glass of wine. There was also a brewery on the grounds which had some good beer which I enjoyed after an afternoon of wine. 

Saturday, July 23

Driver to Take Us Around to Wineries

The schedule was set with four wineries and a driver to take us around. It was so fun! Nick was great! He was a college student that drove people around on the weekends for wineries. He took good care of us checking us into the various locations and getting us to and fro safely.

Excited for the day and to get it started, we had a breakfast casserole that Corrie had made. Again, it provided a good base for us for the day of visiting wineries. I think I also had a Bloody Mary, or more, to start the day before enjoy wines. So exciting to have a driver picking us up and not having to worry about getting from one place to the next. We were ready to head out…

Slate Theory Winery Cellers
Our first stop was Slate Theory which as an amazing location and winery. The wine was delicious and their cellar was so impressive. Below ground and a nice cool temperature for wine, we sampled wines and looked around their production area. The concept for Slate Theory was cool as their label was about mental health and attempting to remove the stigma regarding mental health from their label to the various names of their wines (i.e. Insomniac and Schizophrenic to name a few). We all enjoyed our time at Slate Theory.

Second on the agenda was Hye Meadow Winery where we also had lunch. They sat us outside which was very warm. Not bad while we did the wine tasting, but once our food arrived, we were all ready to go inside. I enjoyed the wines at Hye Meadow Winery, but we did not buy any wines or sign up for any clubs at this one. 

William Chris Vineyards
William Chris Vineyards was our third stop of the day. A nice little stop where at first we thought we were going to be outside, but they moved us inside to a counter where it was cool. It was a little loud from “woo girls” in the tasting room and our host was a soft speaker, but we had a good time.

Hilmy Cellars Group Photo
Hilmy Cellars was a fun last stop. Again, they wanted to put us outside, but Carrie got them to keep us inside at the counter. I really enjoyed the wines at Hilmy Cellars and we were able to enjoy a glass after the tasting while we waited for Nick to come pick us up. We also had some good flavored popcorn, which was much needed after various wineries, to tide us over until dinner time. 

What a great time of having a driver to take us around town, enjoy great venues, and wines, and to have fun in Fred. Nick picked us up from Hilmy Cellars and took us back to the house. We spent the evening around the pool, eating burgers, and continuing the fun.

Sunday, July 24

JenBlossom Cellare Group Photo
Our last day to do wineries, so we had Grape Creek Vineyards which is located at the same location/area as Heath Sparkling Wine that we had visited earlier in the week. Although, we had reservations at JenBlossom CellarsJenBlossom Cellars turned out to be a private tasting which was amazing and some of the best wine I have ever had. No, we did not buy a membership here, but we wanted to do so. Instead, we bought one bottle which is the most expensive bottle of wine we have ever purchased. Saving it for a special occasion, we cannot wait to have it one evening.

A great way to start the day with JenBlossom Cellars, we left and headed to Barons Creek Vineyards. Our fun continued at Barons Creek Vineyards where we had a good person serving us wine and some snacks to tide us over for the day.  Carrie and I took home a couple of bottles from Barons Creek Vineyards and then also ended up for a membership. Carrie said later she did not want to but I was happy on wine and decided to join another club. “That’s how they get you!”. 😀

Our final stop for wine was Safari Winery. A fun location with a good host, but none of us bought any bottles from this location.

Finally to finish out the day we needed food, so we decided on Panda Chinese Restaurant which was some of the best Chinese I have had in a while. Put down a good base so we could head back to the house to play games and enjoy the night.

Monday, July 25

Birthday Boy for a Birthday Fun Weekend The plan today was to stick around the house. Greg and I stayed around the house. The ladies went shopping and then to Augusta Vin to take advantage of our VIP status.  

While it was hot, it was not bad at all outside. I was outside for the morning and majority of the afternoon. Even though I applied sunscreen multiple times, I got burned on my shoulders and back. All good though and well worth it as I had an amazing day celebrating my birthday.

Greg Cooking Steaks on the Grill

After the ladies returned, we all spent time in the pool and then Greg did steaks on the grill. They were so good! We had some difficulty figuring out the Traeger Grill the night we did burgers, but no issues this evening. The steaks came off perfectly cooked and paired nicely with sides and a nice glass of wine. Perfect pairing after spending the day drinking beer around the pool. 

Everyone Around the Dining Room Table Enjoying Dinner

A great way to finish off the long weekend with good food, drink, and fun in the pool. I am the first in our group to turn 50, so I cannot wait to see what the others all plan for their 50 celebrations. I recall some discussion happening between Corrie and Carrie that we might be in California for their 50 celebration. I cannot wait!

Ending our Trip

It was sad to pack up and leave on Tuesday morning. Corrie and Javier had to leave early to get Javier to the airport. We ended up having to take all the wine with us and meeting Javier at the airport as he could not ship his wine from UPS and of course could not check all of it at the airport. Worked out well though as we were able to meet his friend who pick up his wine from us as we passed through Forth Worth, Texas. 

Carrie and John in Vineyard with a Selfie
I invite you to view all pictures from our trip by accessing my Flickr site. I would like to thank Corrie, Javier, Greg, Erin, and Carrie for making my 50th birthday celebration a memorial event. I think I will be talking about this celebration for years to come although I look forward to seeing how the others out do my 50 celebration. Thank you everyone!

Thanks to everyone who called, texted, or spoke to me directly to wish me a happy birthday. It was so fun!

Stats for July Working Out a Little Better Than June

Monthly Workouts Calendar View

I had a lot of times working out for July, but he back-to-back days came while I was on vacation where I worked out daily. Granted, some of those workouts were only for 15 - 20 minutes, but I could sure feel it in my legs towards the end of the end of July after working out every day for a week. It helped me to get up early and stay motivated while on vacation.

It seems like I should have worked out more by working out everyday, but as you can see, the July 1 - 9 I did not work out at all. Thus, I matched my total number of days working out of nine. Overall, I am happy with the number of times working out for July.

Stats from July

Minutes working out are up from June where I worked out a total of 211 minutes compared to 251 minutes working out in July. So, I increased the number of minutes I worked out. I also increased my number of miles traveled from 45.6 to 63 miles traveled during nine workouts in July. I am pretty happy with that number considering I was on vacation and did not work out for the first part of the month.

The largest number is the calories burned that went from 2,272 in June to 3,170 in July. I still have a lot of work to do and I am planning to start Weight Watchers. By watching what I eat, continuing to exercise, and helping to motivate, I hope to be able to soon be talking about considerable weight loss for myself. Of course we are headed into tailgate season which is always tough, but I think I can do it.

A short update on working out for July. I feel good about my numbers from July and hoping to have even better numbers for August.