Sunday, April 30, 2023

Weekend update with hammock time, Oliver enjoying sun/dirt, and going to the theater... Yard work the plan for Sunday afternoon... It is a good weekend!

Me Relaxing in the Hammock and Oliver Relaxing in the Sun and Dirt
Me in Hammock... Oliver in Sun/Dirt

Busy weekend with events Friday evening and then up early Saturday morning. Still, made time to relax in the hammock outside with Oliver. However, he found a nice spot in the yard with good sunlight and a patch of dirt. I will say, that is the only patch of dirt in the back yard, but he finds it and hangs out there any chance he gets.

Friday night we celebrated Carrie's birthday with her family. Yes, her birthday was a few weeks ago, but this was the first time we had to get together as a family to celebrate. Had a wonderful time at The Weather Room. Good drinks, food, and company was good to celebrate her birthday. A perfect ending to the week which seemed like a long week for some reason. I realized that we did not get any pictures Friday night so again I am trying to improve on taking pictures and capturing moments, but still thinking of it after the fact in most cases.

Saturday morning I was up early to attend an event on the Washburn campus for the new law building. Helped to make sure everything was working properly for the meeting being held in the still being constructed law building. It went off without a hitch.

Carrie went to auditions from 1 - 4 pm on Saturday and should hear on a part by Monday. So excited she is auditioning for plays. Hoping she gets a part so I can see Carrie on the stage again.

Saturday night, we were at Topeka Civic Theater to watch The Crucible. Had a fun time at the theater and the play was good. The last time I saw "The Crucible" was probably twenty years ago with Eddie was in the play. The cast did a good job although at the end it felt like it was anticlimactic as this play just ended and the cast came out on the stage. When Eddie was in the play, the end was intense with the sound of those being accused being hung. I still remember that feeling and we talked about it as we left the play last night. Still, the cast did a good job last night and we had a great time.

Sunday is a day to catch up again in the lawn. Need to mow again today and do some clean up from winter with limbs, leaves, etc. Should be a slow Sunday which is good as we prepare for another week. This week Carrie has her Bonner Event Thursday night that she is getting ready for and I plan to attend with her. 

Until next time, have a great week!

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Mowing the lawn, looking at camp sites, a visit to site of parents cabin, and remembering past fun at Lone Star Lake cabin

Yard Work Done and Burning Limbs
Mowed Lawn and Fire Pit

First time to mow for the year and decided to do some limb cleanup too. Goal for the year is to stay ahead of limbs and not have a huge pile at the end of the season that needs to be hauled off. I have been burning for about four hours so far today as I started after I had finished the front and had just started mowing the back when I decided to start burning. Carrie was giving me grief saying that need to keep the limbs for camping, but where we camp, there are a lot of limbs or we can just buy firewood. Plus, we will have more limbs down that is a guarantee. 

Oliver stayed outside with me for most of the burning today although he just went inside as I think he is a sleep and needs an afternoon nap. Poor guy! He likes to help and watch what I am doing when I am outside. He also loves to watch for people walking along the street and run out to bark at them. So, we have a party while we are outside working in the back yard and Oliver is the leader of the other neighborhood dogs making sure to alert the others when there is something to bark at.

On Saturday, we decided to drive around and look at camp sites and we started at Clinton Lake which is just outside of Lawrence, KS. We found some good spots we are hoping to be able to do here soon. A lot more camp sites than I was thinking from when I would go out to Clinton Lake. However, way back when I was going there, it was not to camp, but to boat, so camp sites was not something I was paying attention to at the time. We found some good spots that Carrie wrote down in her notes.

Lone Star Lake from 2014
Cabin at Lone Star 2014
After Clinton Lake, we drove out to Lone Star Lake where my parents had a cabin for many years. Again, I did not realize that Lone Star Lake had camp sites, but we found some good spots that we plan to check out this summer. The early months of May and June are already filling up with events for us, so hoping to be able to get at least one camping trip, maybe two, in there somewhere within May or June.

While we were at Lone Star Lake, we did stop by to look at the lot where my parents had their cabin. I spent many a day out at the cabin when I was little, growing up, and even after Carrie and I were married, we spent time out at the cabin. I had not been to look at the cabin, or land, since it was sold in 2015 or so. The people who bought it have done amazing things with the land. Still the same structure for the cabin, but modernized as far as I can tell from the outside. I could tell it was the same base with a rock structure, but they completely redid the outside siding, new deck, and made the drive much better. A new dock was nice too that was covered, had a lift to lift their boat out, and good swimming area. It looked really nice which was good to see. It did bring back a flood of memories of spending so much time out at Lone Star.

I did not take any pictures while we were at the old spot of my parents cabin, but there were a lot of memories of the good times had when we would go there. I also remember all the work that it took and I only did a small portion of the work with my Dad and Mom doing most of the work. Cleaning, getting ready for parties, mowing, and the list goes on and on. I appreciate all the work my parents did to keep the cabin so we could go to it for all of those years.

It has been a fun weekend and on that I will end this update. Have a great week!

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Happy Birthday Cruise to Carrie on Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady April 9 - 14, 2023... Highly Recommend Virgin Voyages!

Window Seat for Early Morning Flight to Miami, FL
Sunrise From Flight
Carrie and I left for a cruise on Saturday, April 8. We booked our cruise a few months ago to celebrate Carrie turning 50. We decided on a Virgin Voyages cruise as we had a few friends who had been on the cruise and said it was great.

Our fight left at 5:18 in the morning. We got a hotel near the airport for the night before, but we still had to be at the airport by 4 am. It was great to be able to see the new MCI airport although nothing was open when we were there, or when we returned, but it is nice to have one spot to depart and arrive for the airport.

We flew into Miami and had a hotel for Saturday night, so we did a tour of Little Havana where we had a guided tour to eat, drink, and see the area. It was so fun! We had a great tour guide that was from the area. Delicious coffee, drinks, and food, plus hearing about the area was so interesting. We had a great time before we headed to our hotel.

Carrie and John at Kempton Hotel in Miami
From Balcony in Miami, FL
We had a wonderful evening in Miami where we head a balcony looking out over the inlet to the ocean with so much activity of boats, I could have spent all day watching boats entering and leaving to the ocean. It was so cool! We had reservations at The River Oyster Bar which was walking distance from our hotel which was perfect. We of course had to order oysters and they were delicious. We had six different kinds, I believe, and they were all delicious. The drinks, appetizers, and meals were good too. We really liked The River Oyster Bar and our time spent in and around Miami. 

Disembarkment for Virgin Cruise
Leaving on a Cruise
Finally, Sunday, we were ready to leave for the cruise. We were so excited to be leaving on a cruise that Carrie shouted out to the crowd gathered how excited she was to be leaving. The boarding process for Virgin Voyages was so easy as we were on the ship and had our first drink minutes after boarding. There was a guy in line with us that might have been more excited than Carrie, but it was close. He was singing and giving high fives to the staff as we were heading up the stairs. We think he had done three or four Virgin Voyages before this one as he knew everyone.

Bar We Spent Some Time at Each Day of the Cruise
Bar We Visited Each Day

We visited the Sip Bar each of the days on the cruise. Drinks were great and the bartenders worked their butts off while helping to keep everyone happy and drink in hand. We did go to the Sip Bar each day we were on the cruise. We were sad one night when they closed at 11:30 instead of midnight, but the two bartenders were going to staff party.

There were only two ports being visited on the five day cruise. Carrie and I decided we were going to remain on the ship for the first visit. We had a wonderful time going through the ship, spending time at the pool, and enjoying the ship without it being crowded. We almost did this again the second port day, but decided we should at least say we had been to the Bahamas and put our toes in the sand. It was tempting to not remain on the boat and enjoy the spaces without the people.

Virgin Voyage Hola on side of the Ship
Hola on Side of Ship

We did take a catamaran the first port day which was in the evening which was a lot of fun. The margaritas were not great on the catamaran, but the beer was cold and all part of the voyage. As we returned, I was able to capture a picture of ship with 'HOLA' on the side lit up in lights. While we were on the catamaran, I was able to see some fish "floating on the air" which I had only ever seen on the internet. They were all over the place on the first hour out to the open water along the shore. The way back, I only saw one fly along the top of the water. It was fun and the crew did a good job keeping us entertained and drinks in hand.

Dinner at "The Wake"
Dinner at "The Wake". So good!

We had dinner at just about all the places to eat aboard ship. One of our favorites was dinner at "The Wake". Our seats were in front of the window showing the wake of the boat which was incredible. The meal was good and our waiter was great allowing us use our own bottle of wine and not charge a corking fee. Thank you! 

"The Wake", "The Test Kitchen", and "Gunbae" were my favorites. Least favorite was "Extra Virgin" which was Italian, but it was just OK for me. Main complaint was they were out of all of their wines except for one.

The bars on board were good and we frequented a few of them. It would be nice if only beer is being ordered that would not have to wait for those getting blender drinks, but overall, we had a great time and enjoyed our time onboard. We met so many wonderful people even having dinner with some of them one night. 

Sunset on Catamaran Boat
Sunset from Catamaran

We liked our cruise so much that we put a payment on a future cruise that we get ship credit for and then have to book it within the next two years. I look forward to another trip and to sailing again on Virgin Voyages. It will be fun to see another ship and make new memories to new destinations. 

When we returned to Miami on Sunday morning, we had a cabana reserved for us at a local hotel. We spent the day Poolside at Surfcomber as our flight back to Kansas City did not leave until 9 pm Sunday night. Worked out great as we were able to nap, eat, drink, and be in the pool. It was really a fun spot and once again our waiter took great care of us while we were there.

I am happy that we were able to celebrate the 50th birthday for Carrie doing a cruise. We both had a wonderful time and look forward to cruising again. It had been eleven years since we had last been on a cruise and this did not disappoint. Happy Birthday, Carrie!

See full photo album on Flickr.

Sunday, April 09, 2023

Happy Easter!

Photo by Jill Wellington:
Praise Be! Happy Easter! A beautiful morning. I used to always like Easter egg hunting when I was a kid. I think of all the kids doing that annual hunting this morning. I also enjoyed coloring the eggs. The whole process from preparing the different colors, the process of dipping the eggs, to eating the finished product after we had found all of the eggs. A little vinegar, salat and pepper, and all mixed up in a bowl, it was so good! Sometimes do this routine during the year when looking for an easy meal, but always seemed even better on Easter.

Have a wonderful day and an even better week! Short holiday update today.

Kansas City Royals Start of Season Brief Update and Looking Forward to Attending a Game

Royals Stadium from 2008 Visit
Royals Stadium from 2008
Not a very good end to March or start to April. The Kansas City Royals started off the season 0 - 3. We went two full games without a single run. That makes it difficult to win a game. We finally got a run in the third game, but lost that game after getting four runs. Not an ideal start to the season. I was looking forward to watching a competitive season. Granted, the season is young and there is still a lot of baseball to play. We did finally get our first win on Monday night, but then lost the second game of the series Tuesday night. 

Here we are on Thursday night writing and the Royals lost again today. We have won one game this season.We have had a total of 36 hits during our first seven games and only 17 runs. Our pitching has not been all that bad, but our batting has completely failed us in at least three games so far scoring zero points in those three games. Pitiful!

I write this update for Sunday on Thursday night and we start a new series on Friday against the Giants. Our first road game of the season and I am not expecting much. The Giants are 3-3 to start the season, so there is a chance we could go zero runs for all three games or get lucky and win the one game. At this point, that is about as good as I see it getting the way the season has started.

It is so enjoyable to visit Kauffman Stadium to watch our Kansas City Royals and while I have not made it to one of the early season games, I do plan to get to a few games this season. My hope is that when I do finally make it to see a game this summer, we are competitive and have an exciting game.

Until next time, have a great week! Here is to hoping we play well the next three days and manage to get at least one win. I am not asking much, two would be great, but being realistic, I would take one win for the next three games. Go Royals!

I had this post lined up and ready to post for Sunday night at midnight, but here I am on Friday evening updating that the Royals got their second win of the season this afternoon. We beat the Giants 3 - 1 Friday afternoon. I might need to not watch, listen, or follow their games more often. I truly thought we were going to be swept this weekend, so I am happy to get this Friday win.

Me again, it is now Saturday evening as I write and once again, I missed the game today. I saw the score and I see that we won again. Ok, I think the baseball Gods are telling me something that I need to not watch or only partially watch and the Royals will win. Your welcome!

I wrote the majority of this on early in the week. I decided to leave it as I think it is a bit funny and then if it is helping the Royals win, I am good with that too. I would like to eventually be able to watch the Royals and have them win the game. 

This will post at midnight this evening (Saturday), so I am interested to see how it goes tomorrow. I will not be watching or following the game tomorrow. Go Royals!

Sunday, April 02, 2023

Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Asparagus on Big Green Egg Last Sunday… It Was So Good!

Preparing Big Green Egg for Some Cooking

Decided to do some grilling last Sunday, March 26. It had been a while since I had grilled. Oliver was helping me get everything ready by being the lookout for the back yard as I got the grill ready. As soon as I come through the family room with the bag to do the fire, he leaps off of the couch and is ready to go outside with me. It was a bit chilly on Sunday, but we did not mind, and every time I went in, or out, of the house, Oliver was right there to help.

Carrie had picked up a pork tenderloin at the store, so we did some seasoning so we could marinate the two pork tenderloins in a plastic bag for a few hours before grilling. Prepped some asparagus to go on the grill too. I realized as I am writing that I neglected to get a picture of everything done plated. I always miss out on doing the final picture as excited to get to eating. Oliver and I had a grand time grilling. He patrolled the people walking and made sure I was doing everything properly. Carrie had bought some IPA beers for me when we were in St. Louis, so I was enjoying those while I grilled. It was so good! I want to grill more!

Pork Tenderloin and Asparagus on the Grill

It had also been a while since I had used the Meater Block, so this was a chance to use those for this cook. Carrie likes pork a little more done, so I set both for a little longer on the grill. Once again, Meater did great and the pork was nice and juicy. The asparagus on the grill turned out really good too. A little crunch, but really good flavor. A little oil, salt and pepper, and right on the grill made for a delicious compliment with the pork tenderloin.

The meal was so good, we are planning to grill again today. Getting ready to head to the store to pick up groceries and we plan to get the pork marinating earlier this time. I will try to capture how we do the marinade so I can include that for next weeks update. I also plan to include a picture of the completed meal before I start chowing down. 

Oliver Sleey After Helping with Cooking

Oliver was so sleepy after helping with the cooking, he fell asleep shortly after we finished with dinner. His tongue out and sacked out while we cleaned up and watched television. Poor little guy worked so hard making sure I was doing everything correctly outside, he slept most of the night as we hung out in the family room. I am sure Oliver will hep today when I cook too and good thing I have a full bag of lump for the grill ready to go.

Hoping this weather sticks around as it is so great outside. The grass is greening up and will start to grow soon. I noticed my first mosquito yesterday afternoon while sitting outside on our patio. Good thing we have Mosquito Joe coming this week to start treatment on our yard. If you have not tried Mosquito Joe, I recommend you do so. When we were not using Mosquito Joe to treat our lawn, I could barely go in our back yard without getting eaten up. We have been using Mosquito Joe for three or four years now. 

I hope you have a great day and be sure to cheer on the Royals today at 1 pm. We need a win badly and also need run support. We are 0 - 2 to start the season and have a total of zero runs in those two games. It has been a rough start, but as they say, there are a lot of games to play.

Have a great week!