Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Air temp of zero, wind chill of brrrrrr

Mother Nature loves to jerk us around up here.  

Early November was true indian summer, even to the point that I was cleaning out gutters at midday wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  That happened on a Saturday.  The following Monday we were hit with well-below-freezing temperatures.  And to add insult to injury there was precip that Sunday evening which froze over followed by a dusting of snow.  So Monday morning was even more cruel as we had to endure the slippy-slide anywhere sand or salt wasn’t scattered.  

Then we have this holiday season.  Christmas Day was sunny with temps in the 40’s.  Nice enough that I could go walking with a medium-sized jacket.  No wind, either.  

That changed.  

Began snowing on Friday afternoon.  Wound up with between one and two inches.  All things considered, not too bad.  

But now we are in today.  Snowed yesterday.  Snow and wind overnight.  Snow drifts this morning necessitating the snow boots and uber-cold weather gear.  Walk out the front door early and sweep off the white stuff.  In a steady wind.  Official temperature was 1 degree with a wind chill of 18 below.  

And tomorrow morning will be even more rough.  Overnight low projected to be 12 below.  That’s before any wind chill.  

However I am thankful we have actual seasons here.  Not just all-hot or all-cold.  And only 16 or so more weeks of cool temps!!

Friday, December 26, 2014


As you gleaned from yesterday’s post I have a new MacBook.  

Which means my venerable 2006-purchased black MacBook is headed for the pasture.  

Actually the latter machine has been in semi-retired status for some time now.  Most of my computing for the past two (if not three) years was in front of the iMac down in the study.  If I wanted portability at home I grabbed Geoana’s iPad.  Don’t give me that dirty look.  Ever since last Christmas when she gained ownership of her iPhone 5C and its capacity to play Netflix and YouTube videos on demand anywhere and anytime she’s made little use of her Apple tablet.  So usually the only time I used the older MacBook was when I took a trip that required at least one overnight stay.  Nothing like an actual computer to connect to the hotel’s wi-fi and keep me abreast with the outside world.  And my own world back in NW Kansas.  

That older Mac still does plenty considering it’s 8 years old.  I can still surf the Net on Safari and use the Eye TV for watching over-the-air idiot box.  iTunes still has my music and Pages will still create a beautiful document.  Yet the machine’s battery has been nonexistent for about four years now and I just had a hard time coughing up cash for a replacement battery.  Plus when I upgraded the Mac to Snow Leopard it seemed to run just a little more slow than when it operated under good old plain Leopard.  Also the internal Superdrive (CD/DVD burner combo) has since died.  And time marches on.  Operating systems become less supported.  New technology emerges.  Having mini-Displayport and Firewire no longer is important.  Time to move into the age of Thunderbolt and USB-3.  

So in referencing the picture above the one on the left now will give way to the aluminum-bodied Mac on the right.  

You had a good run, black MacBook.  Just consider all of the TV markets where you gave Geoguy a look at the local digital over-the-air offerings: 

NW Kansas (in the Wichita market yet served by full-power satellites in places such as Colby-Goodland and Hays-Great Bend)
Colorado Springs
Wichita proper
Rapid City
Dallas-Fort Worth
Kansas City
North Platte (one of the smallest DMA’s you will find)
Oklahoma City
San Antonio
Los Angeles (at least what I could receive at the Ontario airport)
Palm Springs
Minneapolis-St. Paul

Wow.  I dragged that Mac a lot of places.  

A few days ago Geogal asked me what I would do with that older MacBook.  I answered that I didn’t quite know but I was not going to throw the thing onto the scrap heap.  

It still might have some use.  Heck just yesterday morning I set it up to play streaming audio to my older stereo system in the living room.  Christmas music, courtesy of KLUX in Corpus Christi TX.  Their normal format is beautiful music and they are owned by the Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi so I didn’t have to worry about them playing “A Miley Cyrus Christmas.”  

The Mac performed admirably.  I don’t want that to be its swan song.  

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Christmas post, 2014 version

Merry Christmas, everyone!

It’s evening now.  The dishes are washed and the kitchen is now clean.  In keeping with our recent-created tradition we had prime rib for the Christmas meal.  Due to beef prices being what they are currently we wound up paying more than we budgeted.  Rest assured the rib roast was VERY tender and had a great flavor.  

We had a low-key Christmas.  I only got one pricey gift, a MacBook Air.  No surprise for me since I ordered and paid for it myself.  I also sprung for the extra charge to upgrade the memory to 8 GB.  So far I’m impressed with this machine.  “This” meaning I’m typing this blog entry on my new Mac, using the Pages word processor.  As such you can expect an increase in my blogging since I am no longer limited to the iMac down in the study.  I’ve also decreed Geoana will not be permitted to access her school account on this machine (I still can’t get the Google school account to log out on the Blogger website.)  

Now it’s time for some dessert….

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Book I just finished reading:   Catch–22

Lengthy but well worth the effort.  I can’t remember when I laughed so much reading a book--probably not ever since the The Milagro Beanfield War.   Yossarian lives!!

Book I am currently reading (fiction):  Illusion by Frank Peretti

This one’s on the Kindle.  I’m enjoying the journey since I am apparently very discerning when it comes to fiction.  Novels are easy to find.  Good novels are difficult to locate.  Since everyone’s definition of quality varies I sometimes have trouble locating a tome that is worth my time.  However since Illusion had overall positive reviews on Amazon I decided to go for it.  I’ve read several of Peretti’s novels and like most every writer he puts out the occasional clunker.  Glad my current read doesn’t fall into that category. 

Book I am currently reading (nonfiction):  The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee by Marja Mills. 

Geogal found this one at the local library (which has both fiction and nonfiction books, much to the surprise of our city-dwelling kinfolk).  A fairly easy read, this one does well at holding my interest.  I’ve never been to small-town Alabama but Mills’ prose easily puts the picture in one’s mind. 

By the next literary update I’m sure I will be on some different ones. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Not An Aggie Joke

On October 20 I posted an entry dealing with a Texas A&M University issue and likened it to an Aggie joke.

This Thanksgiving morning, over my second (and third) cup of coffee I read this feature-length story. 

Interesting, yet I still believe there's a subtle attempt to portray most Texans as unsophisticated country-folk.  Never mind that A&M is a renowned and respected institution of higher learning (no Aggie joke here, folks) and produces a whole lot of engineers and veterinarians not to mention several other science-centered disciplines. 

I also fume when the writer clearly doesn't make an effort to even look at a map of the Lone Star State: 

JAMES FUQUA, TEXAS A&M class of 1983, lives and works at the end of a 12-mile driveway. The Lazy U ranch, halfway between Amarillo and Wichita Falls in the middle of the Texas Panhandle, has been in his family since 1894.

Halfway between Amarillo and Wichita Falls is NOT the middle of the Texas Panhandle.  If I were to argue geography the middle of the Panhandle would be located between Amarillo and Borger.  

Enjoy turkey day everyone!  Go Cowboys!  Go Aggies!  Go.....hmm.  Longhorns or Horned Frogs?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Revisiting an old interest

Couple of weeks ago the Geofamily made another trip to Mayo Clinic.  Third one this year. 

Plus side:  Caribou Coffee, better selection of eateries than what's available in our small town, Leininkugel's beer, having been to Rochester before so we know what to expect, having been to Mayo before so we know what to expect, K-cup brewer in the hotel room (brought our own varieties!), being prepared. 

Minus side:  Disrupts school and work, 10 hours there, 10 hours back. 

One morning I decided to rise early (before dawn) and walk outside with my tried-and-true radio receiver, which is still functioning well for being almost 19 years old.  The purpose?  AM radio DXing. 

That means picking up signals from faraway stations. 

I tried it when we visited Rochester previously but due to the time of year (solar interference) the results were a bit disappointing.  I figured now, since we were past the equinox my chances of hearing more places would be better. 

Were they ever. 

Trudged outside in the near-freezing temps. 

Why outside?  With today's electronics such as wi-fi having an AM radio indoors in a hotel is nearly pointless.  Generally all you will get is hum on all but the local station frequencies.  However if I walked to the car just getting away from the building makes a significant difference. 

Picked up 990 in Winnipeg, Manitoba (CBW).  A CBC broadcast devoting a whole half-hour to the subject of hot dogs.  I'm not kidding.  One more reason I'm glad I don't live in Hoserland. 

That wasn't the only Canuck station I heard.  On 900 was CMHL which originates from Hamilton, Ontario.  And then a station which I've been trying to get ever since I moved from Arizona.  800 AM, CKLW from Windsor, Ontario.  It's been many many years since the station's heyday as Detroit's Top 40 station of choice but I still desire to add it to my log of catches.  I never have been able to get this one in Kansas due to interference from XEROK in Juarez. 

Picked up another station with a lot of history.  KDKA in Pittsburgh.  (They claim to be the first commercial radio station in the world, first hitting the air in 1920.)  I also heard several of the Chicago blowtorches but that wasn't real significant to me at this time since I can get many of them at my home in the Sunflower State. 

I should mention here that Chicago's WLS (890) was one of the very first AM stations I DX'd.  Would have been around 1978 or 79.  Picked it up on my AM/FM clock radio one night in my Houston, Texas bedroom.  Whetted my appetite for hearing distant stations, an interest that continues to the present.  (Why else would I write an entry on this subject?) 

Many others.  Cleveland.  Milwaukee, Twin Cities (OK, that was a gimmee).  Several from Iowa. 

And then my Holy Grail of cities. 

New York, NY

Given my travels have never taken me very far east I have not had the chance to catch any of the Big Apple's powerful AM stations.  A few years ago I thought I had heard WFAN which broadcasts sports talk on 660 (the former WNBC-AM).   You can imagine my disappointment when I finally learned it was not WFAN but rather WBHR from further north in Minnesota. 

With anticipation I tuned the radio to 770.  Fuzzy talking, fading in and out but I finally discerned it was the Don Imus show.  It wasn't until I went back to the hotel room and got on the 'Net that I confirmed it was the one I hoped for--WABC.  I can't hear this one where I live as Albuquerque's KKOB is on the same frequency and also uses 50,000 watts of power. 

But I had another surprise in store. 

I tuned up to 880 on the dial, expecting to hear KRVN which broadcasts from very close to my place of residence.  Nope. 

Very strong, very clear signal of WCBS, also from NYC. 


I walked back into the hotel lobby, a bit chilly (even though I dressed warm) and ready for another cup of coffee. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

An Aggie Joke?

And no, I am not referring to their loss at Alabama two days ago.

It's been over 30 years since I've lived in Texas.  I haven't told an Aggie joke in probably more than 20 years.

I did catch one not long ago and figured this is as good a forum as any to share it.

I read an article on ESPN.com about the turf at Kyle Field being replaced completely due to damage from torrential storms and subsequent games making the bad situation worse.  As A&M would not be playing at home again until October 11 it gave the school time to do the needed work.

One commenter wrote:  "Remember Aggies, it's green side up!"

That Texas A&M is a land-grant school only adds to the humor.


I've been trying to do some posts but two things got in the way.  Geoana constantly needing the computer to do her schoolwork and my inability to log in to Blogger due to Geoana's schoolwork. She logs in to Google Docs via her school account.  However when I try to log her out so I can log in under my own username and password Google still doesn't let me log in.

Granted I haven't officially complained (except for right here, right now) and I have not yet looked on the 'Net for a possible solution.  I guess that will give me something to do tomorrow.

Friday, September 19, 2014

What I Did NOT Expect To See Today

Home for lunch and and am browsing around the 'Net. 

Went to the ESPN home page and this feature story greeted me. 

I know that name.  He used to coach at NMSU. 

Certainly not everyday that you see an article of any type devoted to a former head coach of the Aggies.  In fact the vast majority of NMSU head football coaches vanish into seemingly thin air once their three years are up. 

And as I was telling someone the other day at a Rotary Club meeting, should my alma mater ever snag a guy who can make winning teams out of the material he has in Las Cruces, the bigger schools will quickly come a-knocking and he'll be out of there faster than you can say "buyout." 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

And on the day following Apple's presentation...

I surf the web after coming home from work and learn Macworld laid off most of its staff.

And are discontinuing their print magazine.  (At least the online edition will still be around.  I need my thrice-weekly dose of the Macalope.) 

I'm not real surprised.  Just a few days ago I browsed through the latest issue (I do subscribe, given that our local high schoolers sell magazine subscriptions as part of their yearly fundraising.)  About two thirds of the way through the issue I noticed full page ads that were not ads at all.

Either they were promotional pieces for other IDG outlets or they were public-service oriented.

I've got the issue right next to me now.  Page 53?  "Stand Up To Cancer."

Pages 56-57?  Macworld podcasts and TechHive (also an IDG enterprise) podcasts. 

BTW, we're still in the main articles of the magazine.

Page 67?  Videogamevoters.org (fight for free speech!)

69?  ESRB.org (parents, make sure you know about video game ratings!)

73?  TechHive

77?  FEMA (brought to you by the Ad Council)

83?  The Nature Conservancy

89?  Subscribe to Macworld magazine on the iPad!!

And last but not least, on page 93 we have theshelterpetproject.org encouraging the readers who made it that far in the publication to adopt a pet from your local shelter.

None of these are wrong, they just seem significantly out of place given this publication has long been the leader of the pack in Apple coverage and analysis.

I'm glad the high schooler hasn't knocked at my door yet.  Would hate to have blown my hard-earned green to just get the November issue.  But lest you think I'm cold-hearted I am more than willing to renew my subs to Outdoor Life and Field & Stream.  It's nice to have several interests. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

You know I had to....

I haven't watched the entire Apple keynote from earlier today.  Hope to do that within the next day or two. 

Nice to see Apple doing what they do so well--recreating a product that you didn't know you wanted or needed until they roll it out. 

Over supper tonight I showed the Apple Watch introductory video (from Apple's own site) to Geogal and Geoana.  The 10-minute little film wasn't even over before Geoana stated she wants a Watch. 

And then Geogal posed to her Facebook that she was thinking of getting a Fitbit but will now wait for the Apple Watch to hit the market. 

For me?  The nerds in Cupertino introduced some more cool gadgets today however I am content to still purchase a Macbook Air and possibly follow that with an iPad mini. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

And another question

This one has nothing to do with pop culture.

In commemoration of college football beginning its season (starting the fastest 12 weeks for sports fans) I went back to some months ago in which Northwestern University players were under the media spotlight regarding their right to unionize.  A news article around that time referred to the Wildcats as one of 17 private schools playing FBS (aka Division I) football.

The light bulb flared above my head.  Could I name all 17?


Which ones could I rattle off?

I started locally, meaning the Big 12 Conference.  That's easy.  Baylor (1) and TCU (2).  Then I took the gimmee, Northwestern (3).  Heading out west I knew there were two in the PAC 12: USC (4) and Stanford (5).  SEC?  I know they have only one, Vanderbilt (6).  Then there's Notre Dame (7).  Lessee, what about some other ones with which I am familiar?  Back to my heritage state of Texas for SMU (8) and Rice (9).  How about another independent, BYU (10)?

After that it got more difficult for ol' Geoguy.

I cheated (a little) and looked up team listings for other conferences.  OK, the ACC has Duke (11), which I admit I should have known.  But that conference ain't done yet.  Besides the Blue Devils the other private institutions are Syracuse (12), Wake Forest (13), Miami (14) and Boston College (15). 

Can you guess the other two?

Neither could I.  I cheated even more to get Tulane (16) and Tulsa (17). 

If you're anything like me you probably had a few surprises along the way.

Time for pigskin!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

And the pop culture question of the week at our house is...

Driving home from church yesterday morning the 80's on 8 channel (SiriusXM) began playing "St. Elmo's Fire." 

Naturally I had to make a comment about Brat Pack movies. 

Geogal then indicated that she indeed saw every BP flick back then.  She added: "I even saw this horrible Judd Nelson movie, Blue City.  And to make matters worse I actually paid to see it in the theater!" 

Got me thinking.  What was the worst 80's movie I saw?  And to make it more of a challenge it had to be a movie where I paid for admission.  VHS, HBO, and DVD don't count. 

I thought.  And thought some more. 

Unless my memory jogging improves over the coming days I think I have two contenders:  Grease 2 and Blind Date

Both disappointing.  I saw the Grease sequel with some friends following my 10th grade year.  I can remember precisely nothing about the movie other than it wasn't nearly as fun to watch as the original.  The latter pic I saw simply because it was a dreary cold gray boring Sunday afternoon during my freshman year in college and I just wanted to get the hell away from campus for a little while.  Seeing the trailers and the TV commercials I figured I would get plenty of laughs from that one. 

I didn't. 

Ha ha!  Now I got you thinking about the very same question. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Family item

Some time ago I mentioned that Geofather gave me two of his firearms:  a Stevens/Savage 16 gauge shotgun and a Winchester Model 94 .30-30 rifle. 

The Winchester is also pre-1964 which means it has significant value.  But it has even more value to our own family.  Sorry collectors, this gun is not for sale.  Ever. 

And just within the past two weeks I got another firearm from Dad, his Winchester .22 with a scope sight.  I'm looking forward to taking that piece out to the range. 

In the meantime Geoana and I went to the gun range a few Sundays ago and put some rounds through the .30-30.  We used some old ammo Dad brought me when he gave me the gun and also used some new Remington 150-grain bullets I bought when in Minnesota.  Fires well but for some reason the kiddo and I both were shooting high.  Maybe the sight needs adjustment. 


Friday, August 22, 2014

Close Encounters

The other evening we decided to have a family movie night at home.  The flick?

See the title of this entry.

This was the first time Geoana has seen this Spielberg-directed sci-fi picture and she's at an age now where the more intense scenes won't distress her much.

We did remind her of our visit to Devil's Tower back in 2009.  I refreshed her memory in that all of us "grown-ups" in the vehicle (the group consisted of four adults and two children), once we caught a glimpse of the Tower way off in the distance proceeded to get excited and yell:  "It's Devil's Tower!!  Look, look, Devil's Tower!"

She didn't understand our excitement then.

Now she does.

And when the closing credits began to roll she turned toward us and said, "I'm not sure what I'm feeling right now."

I get it.  She wanted (just like all of us) to know more about the aliens rather than have the movie end with Roy Neary getting on board.  However she still acknowledged that it's a rather fun movie to watch.

Since I'm thinking about the '09 trip I decided to let a few of our pictures do the rest of the talking.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Given that I've detailed our Mayo Clinic trips from July I did last night ponder about which subject should be the focus of today's entry.

Then on my Blogger dashboard I noticed I had just posted entry number 499.

Made the title of this one a no-brainer.

Wow.  500 posts on this blog.  Given that I'm not a writer by profession and lately have suffered from both lack of time and some loss of creative energy I think hitting this mark deserves mention.

Which then gives me the true subject of today's post.  This blog isn't dying, nor is it going anywhere.

I will keep writing until I die or unless I suffer a life change which prevents further entries.  Can't say the same for so many blogs that had their genesis around the same time as this one.

Why the drop-off in blogging for so many?  Several reasons.

1)  Lack of drive.  I sometimes am guilty of this myself and one has to be self-disciplined in order to keep any blog going for the long haul.

2)  Creative energy goes bye-bye.  I hope that's never the case here although I certainly give myself breathers.  That might tie in to reason number three:

3)  Lose passion.  Some people blog around very specific things and sometimes we lose interest in a hobby, cause, or interest.  Since I've kept this blog very much around the happenings of my life (and including my family) I don't lack for material or suffer from waning interest.  Plus I've engaged in a couple of new interests in the last few years and these are making more of an impact here in my corner of the Internet.

4)  Social media.  I don't know how many casual bloggers allowed their sites to go fallow when they got a Facebook account.  But I figure it's a lot.  I can't blame a lot of them, after all Facebook makes it much easier to do things and one doesn't have to put in quite so much of one's own creativity.  Adding a post where you like the latest viral video is much less difficult then sitting at the keyboard and generating prose.  Plus the obvious (and quick) feedback from others far outweighs any comments seen on a blog such as this.

And this last one leads to another subject.  I do not have a Facebook account, nor will I ever have one.  My wife does have one and my conclusion after all these years is that the advantages of a Facebook presence are minimal compared to the downfalls.  Advertising aside I find it annoying that some people's incessant postings are comparable to the annoying idiot who talks nearly non-stop and has no filter.

Here's a reality check for the aforementioned:  I don't care what you think about this political issue or that candidate for office.  I don't care about what online game you are playing.  I don't care which restaurant you patronized for lunch yesterday.  I don't care to see the latest YouTube video meant to evoke pathos.  I don't give a rip about your mental anguish over national and international issues over which you have not one iota of control.  Shut up already!

While that last paragraph sounds harsh I think it's something that certainly needs to be said.  A few folks reading this might privately agree.  And remember I'm not projecting the above on all Facebook members, just those who see it as in end in itself.

As one last point I also enjoy the control I have over this blog.  I have the ability to weed out comments that are not legit.  I have the power to decide whether or not I will let Google advertise on this page.  (Guess which way I went on that one??)  I have latitude to decide how this site overall will appear on the 'Net.  And I like all of these things.  Can't say that for a Facebook wall.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Now For The Second One

(Dear readers:  I intended to have this entry ready last night as I wish to post an item every day this week.  However Geoana took a tumble in the shower and wound up at the E.R.  I stayed at home but obviously couldn't concentrate on writing at that time.  The good news is nothing is broken, she just has scrapes and contusions.  Ibuprofen does her a lot of good.)


Since we had a few days to prepare and since we knew what we were facing I had hopes this next trip would hold fewer surprises.  Or none at all.

I ripped several movies off of DVD and imported them into my iPod Touch.  (It's actually my old iPhone 4 but since I've upgraded the device I decided to make good use of the 32 gigs therein.)  I also got a book from the library (a C.J. Box standalone novel I have not yet read) and filled the backpack with it and several magazines.

We also brought paper plates and plastic cutlery in anticipation of not eating every meal at a restaurant.  The hotel in which we would stay does not have kitchenettes but does include a small refrigerator in each room.

So on Sunday morning, the 27th of July we again start out for the land of 10,000 lakes.  (During the previous trip a local told me that there are more than ten thousand lakes in Minnesota, he said they just got tired of naming them once they hit the ten-grand threshold.)  We got on the road at an early hour, stopped at Big City Burrito in Kearney for the best breakfast burrito I have had since moving from Arizona (gotta love chorizo!) and generally had a leisurely drive into the state of tall corn.  Took a brief side trip into Ames to see the Iowa State University campus.  Mighty pretty.  Much more green and reminiscent of Austin, Texas than I would have expected.

Useless Geoguy-specific trivia:  I now have been in every Big 12 school town/city save one (Morgantown, West Virginia).

Monday morning, and medical procedure takes place.  No complications, no issues.  Again, given that we've been to this area already there's a lot less desire to walk walk walk and say, "Let's see this."

Tuesday is a day of rest.  Gals go clothes shopping and I walk to a nearby gun shop.  Don't find much save for a used Bushnell scope that ought to work well for deer hunting.  I pick it up for $30.  Then I find ammunition for a very decent price at Mills Fleet Farm.

Wednesday we again rise early and make the trek back to the Land of Dorothy.  Drove straight through this time.  Took in a late lunch at Cabela's in Omaha.  It also is there that I finally pull the trigger (pun intended) and purchase a deer rifle.  I will have more on that in another entry.

So now we get to be homebodies for a while.  Just in time to ring in the month of August.

I can't help teasing Geogal and telling her that it's just for scenarios like this that I should take flying lessons.  She doesn't see the humor.

Sure would make the journey a lot faster...

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Return Trip (Volume One)

In yesterday's entry I detailed our family's venture into new territory.

So, wrap up the medical stuff at Mayo.  By this time it's the later part of Friday afternoon.  We decide to blow our inexpensive, efficient hotel in Rochester and head to the Twin Cities.

But we're not in a hurry, after all.  So instead of taking the divided but-not-quite-up-to-Interstate-standards U.S. Route 52 we instead chose the 2-lane and tranquil U.S. 63.

Past Zumbro Falls and into Lake City where we meet the fabled U.S. 61.  And see the mighty Mississippi.  Cross over into Wisconsin at the town of Red Wing (yes, where they make the shoes!).

After a short detour through the Cheese State we are back in Minnesota and not real far from St. Paul.

Hotel is nice but unremarkable.  Dinner does not take place in some fancy restaurant but rather involves rotisserie chicken and potato salad from a nearby grocery store.  No cheese curds for this family!

I do, however, get myself some Leinenkugel's beer.  I feel there's no need to quaff Shiner Bock when I'm this far north.

The next day (Saturday) finds us enjoying a scrumptious breakfast buffet at hotel.  Then we decide on a game plan.  Head to Minnehaha Park and do some walking.  A lot of walking.  Did us good but no doubt this entire family is a bit out of shape.  We did get to see Minnehaha Falls (after a significant period of walking) but after having been in vehicle and in and out of Mayo Clinic buildings for the past few days the sunshine and urban air did all of us some good.

So what's next?  What other touristy thing do we want to see?

Why not go to the largest shopping mall in the United States?

More walking, only this is of the indoor variety.  Catch a fast food lunch and attempt to find an open table in the food court.  Visit the Apple Store (of course).  Laugh at the lack of significant foot traffic at the Microsoft Store.  See Geoana get her picture taken with a couple of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Notice vinyl records are making a comeback at Urban Outfitters.  See people.  Lots of people. Enough to make me long for the openness and sparsity of the Kansas prairie.

Enough mall for us.  What is our next move?

Earlier in the day we kicked around the idea of taking in a Twins game.  However we elect instead to start making our way south and just see where the road takes us with the concept of finding a hotel when we get tired.

After brief stops at Target (seems there's one on every corner in this area) and then further south at Cabela's in Owatonna we then head west on I-90.

Planned to stay overnight in Worthington but the hotel gods had other ideas.

Turns out that at this time of year, in this part of the country, on a Saturday night, there's hardly a hotel room to be had along the Interstate.

OK, time to regroup.  It's now getting beyond 8 in the p.m. and we're all starting to feel the effects of fatigue.  We decided to head southwest.  Geogal gets on her iPhone and secures us a room at the Holiday Inn Express in Sioux City, Iowa.  From what we were later told it was about the last room available in the immediate area.

The hotel gods were still looking out for us.

I like spontaneous but that evening was a bit much.  Before Geogal snagged the room I had a contingency plan banging around in my brain:  Stop for a brief bathroom and beverage break.  I take out my contacts and put on the regular glasses, then we just go all night until we get home.  Geogal and I split the driving and do every trick in the book to stay awake.

I still get an uneasy feeling down in my gut just writing about that.

The following day was more run-of-the-mill.  Decided to zigzag home via Nebraska's two-lane highways.  About midday the outside temperature began rising until it was nearly the century mark by the time we hit our own driveway.

Home for now.  But the following Sunday we would be, in the words of Willie Nelson, on the road again.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Month Of July

July saw the Geofamily on the road for many days.  Three trips total.

One was planned.  That was the Daisy National BB Gun Championship Match (hereafter just referred to as "Nationals").  Took place in early July.

The other two, however, were not on our radar.  These were to the same destination:  Rochester, MN.

Yes.  Mayo Clinic.

I appreciate your concern but while I won't disclose the nature of the treatment or which family member received care I will say that the condition was NOT life-threatening.  Our local doctor decided the condition was outside of his scope of practice and referred us to Mayo.

Therefore we had two impromptu road trips just shortly after arriving back from Nationals.

However we all decided to make the best of things.  First, this is a place (and state) where none of us has been.  Second, we would be close to yet another new state (Wisconsin) and could scratch that one also off our list.  Please refer back to this entry.

Second, the ladies in the family doing what females do, they decided to get in some shopping while we were away from the small burg we call home.  And third, since we were so close, hey why not visit the Twin Cities?

So on the road we went.  Four states in one day.  And since we're not in New England four states in one day tells you just what a long road trip we had.

Heading to Omaha was nothing new.  Heck, the car probably knows the way without our assistance.  Geogal did spend about a month there last year while in professional school.

Next we cross the Missouri river into Iowa.  Previously the only part of Iowa we saw was Council Bluffs so once we were out of the city limits it was all new territory.

I had something of a surprise.  I always thought of Iowa as a flat state and it certainly fits that bill in some areas.  However the stretch between Council Bluffs and Des Moines was surprisingly up-down, up-down.  Some relief in the topography, as my father would say.

Get to Des Moines and leave I-80 for I-35.  Heading north I enjoyed the view of some really tall TV and FM transmitter towers.  Heck, if the stations near where I live had towers that height I would have no trouble pulling in the signals.  But I digress…

After Ames is when fatigue sets in.  Now this is the flat Iowa I envisioned.  No towns or anything of any consequence until Clear Lake.  A good 80 miles of nothing but a lot of farms.  And corn fields.  Lots and lots of corn fields.

But then you get to Clear Lake.  If that name sounds just a little familiar, it was the setting for rock and roll's first tragedy.  The plane crash site is just a bit west of the interstate but there is no memorial or descanso along 35 itself.

Heading north from Clear Lake you then have the anticipation of another state.  Sure enough, just a short drive takes one over the Minnesota line.  A mere 10 miles and you are in Albert Lea and ready to head east on Interstate 90.

Go past Austin (Minnesota, not Texas) and about a half-hour of patience rewards you with the Rochester exit.

All in all the drive takes us around 10 hours.

However the travel time is worth it.  Mayo is impressive (and that term still seems insufficient) and the whole time I was there I kept trying to digest the fact that I was on the grounds of the best medical care provider on the whole planet.


Then we had the first return trip.  Will cover that in the next entry.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

In Praise Of A Small Town

What follows......could never happen in a more populated locale. 

I, along with several other folks, was getting ready for a road trip.  Many months in the making, several days in the execution.  Our kids are just about ready to compete in a national BB gun competition.  Many weeks of planning and fund-raising are about to come to culmination. 

Full confession here:  I am a worrier. 

I'm trying to improve in this area.  Learning more from life lessons certainly helps.  However for some reason I still cannot shake the "beyond concern" I experience just prior to journeys more than an hour or two.  I've always been this way and I have no explanation.  However I am aware worry doesn't do me any good and in fact robs me of joy that I should have in conjunction with excursions beyond my own area of familiarity 

So, let's go back to two Thursdays ago.  I was bound and determined not to worry myself about anything, regardless of what might occur.  So, when the water heater decided to draw some attention to itself on Wednesday I assessed the situation, determined disaster was not imminent, and made a conscious decision NOT TO WORRY!  

Thursday morning arrives.  Even though Geoana took a shower on Wednesday evening (well after I discovered some leakage from bottom of said water heater) a check of the basement once she was finished revealed no further water spread.  Giving the matter some thought I made the wisest decision possible: Turn off the water at the main and that would prevent a flooded basement should the water heater decide to expel its contents. 


Thursday morning arrives and I turn off the water main just as we are ready to leave the house. 

Then comes the waiting for the rest of the travelers, plus the anticipation of what is to come.  While sitting in the coffee shop Geogal and I talk to one of the local business owners, a person who already knows me via our mutual involvement in a service club. 

Did I mention he owns a plumbing business in town? 

We drop the subject of water heaters, he asks some questions, and the next thing I know he tells me his guys can take care of the matter. 

I get out my keychain, remove the house key, slide it across the table.  Several minutes later, my household is on the road to Arkansas. 

(Would that ever occur in a larger city?  Even a medium-sized one?)

Fast forward to the following Monday.  We get home from an-all-day-and-very-long road trip.  One of the first things I do is head down to the basement. 

A new water heater sits there, simply doing what it's supposed to do. 

Water main is back on.  Only a little bit of air in the lines. 

And a very dry basement floor. 

Don't worry.  Don't worry.  Don't Worry! 

See what can happen when one decides to not worry?

Sunday, June 08, 2014

A venture into a different type of shooting sport

Even though I gave Geogal a Smith & Wesson 9 mm handgun for her b-day we didn't get a chance to take it out to the range and get familiar with it until yesterday. 

Between the three of us we ended up putting 100 rounds through that gat!  The gals are much better than I am with shooting that thing so hopefully I will never need to use it for self-defense.  (Insert smiley)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Begetting another Whovian

Sat down as a family last night to watch the latest Netflix offering.  Classic Doctor Who, "The Three Doctors." 

It's been a long time since I've seen a Jon Pertwee episode.  And this was Geoana's first experience with the Third Doctor. 

Her verdict? 

She wants to own a car like Bessie.  And she did ask: "Why is Doctor Who dressed like Austin Powers?" 

She enjoyed the episode.  I pointed out that this is the way a Doctor Who ep should be:  science fiction, cheap special effects, and no soap opera. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Today I Am A Hunter!

At 7:55 this morning I took down my first-ever turkey.  Got a good one, too.  Just a hair shy of 20 pounds with a long beard, nice spurs, and quite the tail fan. 

Sometimes getting up at 4 in the morning is worth it!

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Finally had two things. 

First, a weekend where I am spending both Saturday and Sunday here in town and don't have anything specific on the agenda.  Second, temperatures that are finally consistently above freezing. 

That can only mean one thing for a travel trailer owner such as I!   (See post title) 

It's funny to hear camping veterans describe the process.  "Oh, de-winterizing is easy!  Just add fresh water to the tank, then turn on all the faucets until the pink antifreeze is gone." 

Well, cough cough.

They are partly correct. 

However I first needed to check out the water pump as there can be a bypass valve that allows water to get pumped through the system without going into the hot water heater.  Given that the water heater is six gallons that's a significant savings of pink antifreeze.  So, remove the panel that gives me access to the water pump.  Don't see any type of bypass valve anywhere.  Don't see any type of valve, period. 


Get out the manuals.  Have an overall owner's manual for the camper plus I have a manual from the water pump manufacturer.  The water pump manual makes no reference to bypass valves.  However the camper manual does have a short section discussing bypassing the hot water heater.  But I sure can't find these valves anywhere. 

Then I read through the manual for the pump itself.  Figured I can just move ahead with what I know.  Fill fresh water tank (with brand spanking-new white hose).  Then click on the water pump switch and turn on kitchen faucet (cold side). 

Rat-a-tat-tat-tat noise comes from the water pump.  A trickle of pink water flows out of the aforementioned fixture.  Nothing more than a trickle.  Not the normal flow you'd expect from a faucet. 


Back to the manuals.  Add more water to the fresh tank.  This time I follow the water pump instructions to the letter.  Open all faucets first, then turn on pump switch. 

I get a pretty good flow from the bathroom sink and tub.  The toilet flushes with no problems.  Doesn't take too long for the pink water to turn clear.  But still no decent water pressure from the kitchen sink. 

Then I get the bright idea to also turn on the outdoor shower (which draws off the kitchen sink water inlets).  Again, some pink antifreeze flows through the handheld nozzle but it doesn't have any effect on the kitchen sink efficiency. 


I take the 18-volt battery-operated working light that came with my Dewalt power tool set (thank you, Santa!).  Take a look under the galley sink.  Then Geogal takes a look.  She sees that one of the lines going to the outdoor shower is kinked.  True, but I still can't see how that affects the water pressure for the sink.  (If anything, you think that would actually make the pressure to the sink that much better.) 

Now it's time to break for lunch. 

Later I decide to explore something else.  The water pump manual indicated the pump would be supplying water to all the faucets, plus the hot water heater tank.  But I still have not screwed the water heater tank plug back in the socket.  Why am I not seeing water flowing out of the drain plug? 

Harkens back to something the tech said when I did the walk-through before leaving the dealer's lot back in frigid February.  He noted when I took off a certain panel that would give me access to the back of the hot water heater.  Instead that panel led to the water pump. 


How can I take a look at the back of the heater?  Check the outside of the camper, then go back in and see where it's located. 

Underneath my leather sofa (which folds down into a bed).  Pull the sofa up halfway and I see a panel held fast by a couple of wood screws.  Remove the screws and viola!  Back of the hot water heater. 

I then see the three valves to which the owner's manual was referring.  Yes! 

Hot water is in my future. 

But it's not present yet.  I still need to put the drain plug back in.  That will require a socket of a certain size and the socket wrench sizes I have on hand are all too small.  And in my small town both of the hardware/home improvement stores are closed on Sunday. 

I can wait. 

And I still don't know if this will have any effect on the kitchen sink.  However it's great to approach something like this with four thoughts in mind:

1)  Take my time. 

2)  Be willing to learn as I go. 

3)  Realize that the more I learn about this camper, the better able I will be to handle issues in the future. 


4)  Have a sense of humor!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Warm up already!

Yes, the temps have been above freezing but given it's April and it's northwest Kansas I'm not convinced we've seen the last of the freezing overnights. 

C'mon Mother Nature, I want to de-winterize my camper and see how ALL my systems work!

I think I've already figured out where I want to go Memorial Day weekend (Geogal and Geoana will be going to Omaha to see a show so I'm on my own).  More to follow.    

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Driveway camping, 2014 edition

A sequel to the 2010 story.

Finally got a free weekend, plus one where the weather was forecast to be more-than-halfway decent.

I spent a chunk of yesterday putting gear into the travel trailer.  (Most of this was from the pop-up and we actually are able to make use of nearly everything we bought for that unit.  If my memory serves me rightly, the only thing I coughed up money for that we couldn't take out of the pup was new tires and bearings.)

This was not meant to be a full shakedown.  First of all the camper is still winterized.  I'm trying to figure out when to flush out the pink stuff and don't think we are out of below-freezing overnight temps just yet.

Also I did not power up the refrigerator.  I'm not fully level (but I am pretty level) however I didn't see any real need to dink around with the power tongue jack and side levelers considering we would not be cooking or needing to chill beverages.

So, just as with the entry noted above, all we wanted to do was overnight in the rig.  I did bring out my coffeemaker and a kettle to heat up water for Geogal's tea.

How did it go?

Sorry to say, not extremely well.  I had difficulty getting to sleep (it was windy and something outside kept going clink, clink, clink.  The only noise I want when falling asleep is white noise) and Geogal realized about about 6 in the morning that the mattress is not adequate for her needs.  She retreated to the camper's leather sofa due to back issues.

However everything inside the camper worked fine.  Heater kept us at a nice temp and a travel trailer keeps out much more outside noise than does a pop-up.  I also got out my old Sirius radio tuner and home connect kit, placed the antenna on top of the camper, plugged it into the radio/CD/DVD/audio unit which also has an auxiliary jack.  Nice to have some calming music by which to enjoy one's morning coffee.  Also pleasant to boil water on the gas range rather than plug something in.

A purchase in our near future:  memory foam mattress topper or a higher-level mattress.  At least we figured that out early and didn't have to endure several uncomfortable nights hundreds of miles from home base.

Next time I will have de-winterized the camper and we will give her more of a full shakedown at the nearby lake/state park.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Last weekend, nice weather with temps hitting the 70s on Saturday.

This weekend, cruddy weather with light snow falling this past Saturday.  Woke up this morning to temperatures in the teens and needing to walk carefully to avoid slippage on the ice!

But now it's the evening and the sun decided to make an appearance.  The light snow is just about all gone.

But still, one longs for true warm weather.  However this is March and you truly never know what's in store for the next few days.  What I just described is not unusual for this time of year.

Nagging question:  When DO I de-winterize the camper?

Next nagging question:  What should we really call this time of year?  Spring doesn't fit.  Neither does winter.  

Wing?  Sprinter?

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Now there's this weekend

Weather is exponentially nicer than this time last week.

Last Saturday:  Gray skies, temp hovering around zero, occasional snow and ice.

Today:  Sunny, wind is calm, temps in the low 50's.

Not a bad day to go out to the camper and lounge around.  I popped in a CD and jammed to the sounds of Steely Dan followed by classical pieces.

Geogal joined me a bit later.  She appeared OK just sitting and reading her e-book.

Only one drawback to preliminary "driveway camping."  The house wi-fi doesn't seem to give a useable signal out in the camper.  No matter.  Set up my iPhone as a hotspot and that solved the issue.  Works just fine for web browsing, I have no intention of watching streaming video out there.

Come to think of it, gimpy wi-fi is a typical issue in campgrounds so maybe this is a useful lesson.  Hey, as long as we can pick up a 3G or 4G signal we're good to go.

(My father sighs.)

Opened up the blinds and enjoyed some natural light.  Since we left the door open the neighbor's cat chose to join us.

Soon it will be camping season!

Friday, March 07, 2014

During the past year….

It likely was close to a year ago that I went to central Kansas for 4H Shooting Sports Coordinator training.  Given I was doing the bachelor thing at the time (Geogal was in school) I had a fair amount of time to myself on the journey.  Once I got close to my destination I realized I was rather early and therefore decided to do something I'd been putting off for years.

Pulled off Interstate 70 at Abilene and headed south to the Eisenhower Center.

I didn't spend a great deal of time there.  In fact I only visited one building.  (The fact that this structure was a free one to get into also played into my decision-making process.)

Just joking.  I was happy this one did not require an admission charge as I had long since wanted to visit the final resting place of Dwight Eisenhower.

Too bad that pic came out a tad blurry.  My blood sugar must have been low.

Then I got to thinking, is this the only presidential grave I've visited?  Hmmm.

As a small child I remember Arlington National Cemetery (mainly I remember my awe at seeing headstones as far as my eye could focus).  So it's highly likely I saw JFK's grave although I don't remember it specifically.

A few years later me, my sisters, my mother, and my grandmother all went to the LBJ Ranch in the Texas Hill Country.  I do remember seeing Johnson's headstone from a distance--the tour bus only stopped in the roadway and the public was not allowed in the family cemetery.

But no doubt Ike's grave is the closest I have been to a president's burial site.  And yes, I took several silent minutes and paid my respects.

Next time I need to take more of the day, pay the admission fee, and spend plenty of time taking in all that the Eisenhower Center has to offer.

Maybe combine it with a trip to the Harry S Truman Presidential Library and Museum??

Thursday, March 06, 2014


A few entries ago I made reference to "the bad part of winter."

That negative edge to the time of year when the northern hemisphere is pointed away from the sun hit very hard these last few weeks.  Given December was fairly mild January and February seemed especially cruel.

But now we're in March and hope springs eternal.  Pun intended.

Today walking from one building to another at my place of employment I spotted a promising sign of the changing seasons.

A ladybug.  And then another.

Nothing like a small colorful insect to give cheer to one's day.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Yep, it's me

Speaking of that last entry, I'm still pondering why the YouTube video didn't embed the way it should have (and that my preview pane showed was good to go).

But let's move on.

Still haven't been able to even as much as driveway camp with my new rig.  Too danged cold.  Even though this rig has a heater and plenty of propane I still don't feel the urge to replicate the experience of a high elevation with kill-the-annoying-invading-pests low temps.

And this past weekend was really the kicker.  Barely above zero for both Saturday and Sunday.  Fortunately today the temps were in the range of sanity.  Melted a lot of the remaining snow.

Us humans are funny folks.  Come June and July it will be so blasted hot we'll all be praying for a blast of cool air.  Sometimes I think in the afterlife our ancestors are laughing at us so hard the tears are flowing faster than the local creek after spring thaw.

And, in June and July even in the hot temps I will still enjoy my camper.  Got an air conditioner on the top, don't you know?

Springtime, please come!!


The lack of postings can be summed up by my usual excuse--no time.  No kidding.

Last Tuesday evening I was looking forward to a nice, casual stay-at-home evening.


Not long after I walked through the front door Geogal reminded me that our child had a vocal concert that very evening.  I was even the one who wrote it on the calendar!

Plus it had snowed that afternoon and frigid temps were our constant companion.  However I was treated to some nice renditions of old songs and pretty decent performances from the junior high band members.  Didn't cost a cent, either.

Earlier in February I committed to putting in some time for the local Rotary Club (of which I am a member) Rotary Radio fundraiser.

Me and my big mouth.  Happened to mention I had radio experience and that I'd be willing to re-write some of the ads to make them more "chatty."

Turned out I redid nearly all of the ads.  From a whole lot of local businesses.  Plus a few new ones.

Time-consuming, but I got it all done.  The end result was very positive.

And my mom thinks living in a small town is nothing but never-ending boredom.


What am I reading these days?  Going through the Cork O'Connor series penned by William Kent Krueger.  Right now I'm reading Thunder Bay.

Like so many folks I have read through C.J. Box's books featuring Joe Pickett and now just await his new releases.  Hey, I'm in luck!  Looks like Stone Cold will be out in a matter of days.

And with the Kindle I am also perusing Scavengers by Steven Havill.  Set in southern New Mexico (an area with which I am a bit familiar).

Maybe I'm picky but finding quality fiction is very challenging.  I don't care for the likes of James Patterson or some of these other "hot" authors, particularly when the violence and brutality scale is way over the top.

Makes finding tomes I like especially rewarding.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Yep, what you saw is correct!

Drove to Omaha (and back) on Saturday, January 4.  Horribly cold winter day.

But we pulled the trigger on a travel trailer.  Buying off-season does have its advantages.

Picked up the unit this past Saturday.  Looking forward to a lot of fun times in it once the weather warms up.  (Remember, my Texas, Arizona, and California kin, we have REAL winter here!)


Another football season is in the books.  Satisfaction of seeing the Patriots lose, then seeing the Broncos crap the bed in the Big One.

Actually I don't have any pure hatred for the team from Colorado but being able to avoid several months of nearby (and nearly) insufferable Orange Crush fans is a nice thought to entertain. 

At least my favorite team is not the Browns.  Yeesh, look up "Poorly Run NFL Operation" in the dictionary and you will see numerous references to the team from Cleveland.  Almost makes Jerry Jones look wise in comparison.  Not only did they can their head coach after only one year, they also took a whole lotta time to fill the position.  A long time in which several teams snagged the A-list coaching candidates.


Speaking of the Big Game, I didn't watch much of it.  (Spending my valuable time doing other tasks.  Besides I thought the Broncos would win handily, as many others had predicted.)

I did sit down and turn it on in the 4th quarter.  Caught this ad.

Hey, members of my family: Does that puppy remind you of Fred? (Or should I spell it Phredde?)

Sunday, February 09, 2014

What do you mean I can't go camping yet?

Yes, I bought a new rig in the dead of winter.  Sometimes off-season is the best time to buy. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Maybe the bad part of winter hasn't hit yet....

A few entries ago I made note that after the holiday season winter seems to take on a different, and more malevolent, tone. 

Fortunately in my own cranium that hasn't occurred yet. 

Not that Old Man Winter suffers for lack of effort.  While those of us in northwest Kansas didn't suffer quite the cold level other parts of the nation endured (hear that, Minneapolis?) it was still plenty chilly.  Last Saturday morning (not referring to yesterday but rather January 4) us three got up early and went on a road trip to Omaha.  According to the Suburban's thermometer it was 37 when we left town around 5:30 a.m.  Soon the wind kicked up and by the time we were in eastern Nebraska it was down to 17.  Factor in the wind chill and it was well below zero.  Not to mention the sky was very gray. 

However the outcome of the journey was positive (more about that in future entries).  We also did a turnaround and headed back home the same day.  593 miles (round trip) after we began the sojourn we again pulled up to our domicile.  And slept in the following day. 

Compared to last weekend yesterday and today seem downright tropical.  This morning I was rewarded with a sunrise and shades of yellow and orange Crayola will never be able to duplicate. 


Did I mention I don't mind the holiday season being over? 

Before you start calling me "Scrooge," "The Grinch," and other epithets please know I don't have any deep resentment toward Christmas itself.  On the contrary I enjoy giving and teaching my child the importance of giving to others, especially when you can do it anonymously. 

Yet I seem to be cursed with family members that are VERY hard to buy for.  Here are the real-life examples:

Circa 1978--I ask my mom what she wants for Christmas.  Long pause.  "Well, hmmm."  Longer pause.  "I guess I don't really know.  Maybe a pair of slippers, or perhaps a bathrobe."  Geoguy (to himself), .

Now fast forward to the present.  I ask Geogal what she wants for Christmas.  Long pause.  "Well, hmmm."  Longer pause.  "I don't really know.  I guess a bathrobe."  She did eventually give me a few other gift ideas. 

Geoguy (to himself), .

Then the neighbors hear the sound of Geoguy hitting his head against a brick wall.  

Why is it that I'm cursed with loved ones who don't seem to have hobbies or interests?  Is it some kind of evil payback for me having about 30,000 hobbies and interests? 

That is my big gripe about Christmas.  Well, that and a few other things.  That list will wait until December of 2014.  No need to be a curmudgeon now.  

It does appear this just-ended Christmas that GeoSister (the younger) got very wise and gave Mom and Dad an iPad Air.  Bear in mind they don't have iPhone and own no other Apple products (to my knowledge).  However in talking to Geomom yesterday they seem to be enjoying the device just fine.  Who knows, maybe they will even find some apps they enjoy. 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Doing the same thing

Last January First I made note that I was hedging my bets regarding traditional New Year's Day dishes.  A combination of Deep South (black-eyed peas) and New Mexico (posole). 

Given 2013 was a reasonably good one for me (and a heckuva lot better than 2012) I chose to again please my palate with the aforementioned dishes. 

The only change is I ate the black-eyed peas in the form of 10-bean soup rather than making them their own dedicated dish. 

Here's wishing all of you a happy 2013!