Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas--2016 Edition!!

I'm writing this shortly after 7 a.m. on Xmas morn.  I'm still the only one up in our household.  

Lest you think the gals are lazy let me give you the rest of the story.  

Last night we attended Christmas eve service as is our custom.  However since we switched churches a few months ago what used to be a gathering that took place around 7:30 or so in the evening is now a candlelight service that begins at 11.  

My family of origin members are all laughing at this point, as they know my memories of trying to stay awake up to Midnight Mass are banging around in my brain.  I'm not a night person.  

However the service beginning one hour before the stoke of middle-of-the-night wasn't all that bad.  Even with Geogal chatting after service we still got home about 12:15 and I hit the hay not long after.  

Regardless of the time I still enjoy the Christmas Eve service.  The shopping and prep are all done and it is now time for reverent reflection.  


I've looked forward to this date for several weeks now.  Not that I'm anticipating anything special but rather for what I am giving.  When you're my age it can truly be more about the joy of giving.  

Plus, this year I was well ahead of the game.  I figured out a couple of great gifts for Geogal and procured them early.  One on Black Friday, the other one even earlier.  I've gone several weeks to give these, what's two or three more hours to wait?  I'm savoring this Navidad as my wife is a hard person to buy for.  

We won't have a white Christmas here but I'm OK with that.  Forecast today is actually calling for thunderstorms and some high wind.  Temps will be mild.  

Sure beats last Saturday, where we awoke to wind-chill temps in the minus teens combined with some snow accumulation.  Not a pleasant day to take care of the shopping tasks.  

I'm keeping with our (newer) Christmas tradition of cooking prime rib for the main meal.  The past 2 or 3 years I've wound up with a more well-done rib roast so yesterday I finally acquiesced and bought a digital thermometer with a probe.  Our meat will be nicely pink!  Maybe.  

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas!  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Birthday Month Isn't Over...Yet

I was born in October.  I won't bother with the details of my age, besides my family already know anyway.  

Earlier this month my birthday came, and went.  I got cards and well-wishes from a few folks (thanks, mom and dad) but from my own household, nothing.  

Loving wife and child totally forgot about it.  Even after the fact I didn't get a cake or any gifts.  

But no matter.  I'm at the age where the b-days don't mean much anymore.  Besides if I had designs on anything particular I open to just purchasing it rather than drop hints or write it on a list.  

So, October is drawing to a close when I find myself in a bright light and realizing I figured out my perfect (for the present) birthday gift.  

I knew my tried-and-true Char-Broil propane grill had reached the end of its useful life and I disassembled it not long ago, getting it ready for the semi-annual household junk pickup our city conducts.  Since then I've been using only charcoal for any outdoor cookery.  

I realized just a few days ago that I was overlooking a great solution.  Weber makes a grill that runs off of the small disposable bottles, the same ones I use for my Coleman camp stove.  

I did some research and after learning these grills got excellent reviews I decided today to head over the P-burg and check out the selection at Ace Hardware.  

I wasn't disappointed.  They had the model I was looking for and to top it off, it was marked down about $25.  

It's the Weber Q1200.  I brought it home, did the small amount of assembly required (the easiest I've ever done with a grill) and soon had the thing heated up nicely.  I threw on some cheap steaks (Geogal wanted them cooked up so she can dice them and add the meat to her salads during the week--beats eating processed food) and within seconds of closing the lid I smelled the aroma only generated by the cooking of steak.  I even had Geogal come outside just to sniff for herself.  

In short, the grill did an awesome job.  A short while later I grilled three smoked pork chops for the evening meal.  Yummers.  

When in use it will occupy a space just outside the back door.  Otherwise it will be stored away from the elements.  

And if you're thinking, hey Geoguy did you realize this grill and cart both fold down and can fit in your camper's pass-through storage?  Will you use it for RVing?  You're darn tootin'.  

A nice way to enjoy a belated birthday gift to myself...

Monday, October 24, 2016

Getting My Wish

I got my wish!  (Doesn't happen often..)

How about that for a World Series?  Two teams with a whole lot of history and not much postseason success for a whole lotta years.  Lots and lots.    

Saturday night, in the midst of watching college pigskin I occasionally switched over to FS1 to see if the Cubs would finally break the curse.  Then, when the bottom of the 8th turned into the top of the 9th I grabbed my tried-and-true-and-getting-real-old-but-still-works-usually Radio Shack super sensitive AM/FW/SW radio and tuned it to WSCR, the Cubs' flagship station.  (At night, particularly this time of year, I get all four of Chicago's blowtorch stations very clear here in western Kansas.)  I knew, barring a collapse in the 9th, this would be historic and I preferred to hear the Chicago-based announcers rather than Joe Buck and company.  So...sitting in my recliner with the radio tuned correctly and the TV muted I quickly realized I got the audio of what was happening at Wrigley Field a good 30 seconds before I saw the corresponding video on TV.  Hearing the radio call of that double play made me glad I took the time to enjoy Ancient Modulation.  

Way to go Cubbies!!  

Now, how about a brain-teaser?  (Or memory check.)  

Can you name all of the MLB teams that existed in 1945?  

Well, I'll start with the National League:

1)  Chicago Cubs
2)  New York Giants
3)  Brooklyn Dodgers
4)  Philadelphia Phillies
5)  Pittsburgh Pirates
6)  Cincinnati Reds
7)  St. Louis Cardinals
8)  Boston Braves  (I'm guessing they had not yet moved to Milwaukee)

Now let's try the American League:

1)  New York Yankees
2)  Boston Red Sox
3)  Chicago White Sox
4)  Cleveland Indians
5)  Detroit Tigers
6)  Washington Senators
7)  Philadelphia Athletics  (as with the Braves I figure this team had not yet moved to Kansas City)
8)  ????

I struggled a little with numbers 6 and 7.  As you can see I'm stumped on the last one.  Took a visit to the encyclopedia as I knew the leagues wouldn't have a dissimilar number of teams.  

The St. Louis Browns.  

No wonder I hit the brick wall.  Not a team I recall from any baseball-related texts I read back in the day.  

They still exist, by the way.  New city, new name.  

The Baltimore Orioles!

Fun, huh? 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Late In October

It's a Saturday evening and I'm enjoying the fall offerings of college football.  Plus an added dose of MLB.

When it comes to the boys of summer I'm generally checked-out by this point, as the playoffs typically don't include my teams.   For my readers unfamiliar, they are the Astros, Diamondbacks and Angels.

Go Cubs!  While I'm not typically a superstitious guy a few days ago I got the cups we brought back from Wrigley Field last year and set them on the baker's rack on the perimeter of our kitchen.

Hey, whatever works.  

I'm sure I share the sentiments of many when I voice my desire for a Cubs-Indians World Series.  


Sorry, members of my extended family.  I rooted for Kansas State in today's matchup against the Texas Longhorns.  Face the facts, my Geoana very likely will be attending school there.  


Speaking of the Little Apple, we were there last weekend catching up with our longtime friends.  As a bonus our ventures to Varsity Donuts, Radina's coffee and the Dancing Ganesha pleased my palate and triggered my endorphins.  Not a bad way to spend a weekend.  

So far this weekend hasn't been unpleasant either....

Monday, September 12, 2016

Yes, Want That!

Even before the iPhone 7 was unveiled all of us in this house knew we'd be upgrading.  

We don't get new phones every year.  Rather, we've kept the pattern of upgrading our phones about every three years.  None of us are techies nor do any of us earn a living informing others about gadgets.  We use our devices but we don't live and die by them.  

So, when you combine the smartphones expected life span with the newer features three years is just about right for the Geofamily.  

Over our lunch break last Wednesday Geogal and I viewed the Apple event although we wished they had covered the iPhone a bit sooner.  The Apple Watch material is somewhat interesting yet neither of us pine for the wrist tech.  Plus Geogal already has a FitBit which meets her needs just fine.  

They then got to the phone but just a few minutes in we had to leave and head back to our respective salt mines.  No problem, just resume the playback later in the evening when we had more time to relax and really absorb the features.  

No more analog headphone jack?  Doesn't bother me a bit.  Apple is right, technology is headed in this direction anyway so why not be a little early?  

I liked what I saw.  So did Geogal.  So did Geoana, who voiced her desire for an iPhone 7.  

Both Geogal and I have our eyes on a 7 Plus.  The superior camera is a nice feature but I really just want a device with a bigger screen.  I admit it, I'm getting older and more real estate on my gadget is better on my eyes.  Should be a nice upgrade from my current 5 s.  

Just as my 5 s was a great upgrade from my iPhone 4 back in October of 2013.  

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Leisurely Saturday

As my gals are at the Kansas State Fair I'm doing the bachelor thing most of this weekend.  

Therefore I have a low-key couple of days at my disposal.  

After doing a few household chores I decided to take a little drive and check out the lake level.  

We had some significant storms last Saturday which caused flooding in the southern part of the county.  I'm sorry to say the weather resulted in tragedy (one death and significant loss of home and property for others).  

All of this aside I was curious about the lake's water level given it's been down for the better part of two years, although the snowfall and spring storms earlier this year did well to raise it at least a foot.  

First I drove over the dam.  And as I suspected the lake was higher, although not anywhere near the high-water mark.  Still, looks a lot better than it did in December 2014 when I last drove to the bluff overlooking the whole thing and was shocked at how dry our "fishing hole" became.  

Have to take some pictures, right?  This one is from the dam itself:

Then I head south to the aforementioned overlook area.  Since we are in the Sunflower State one must get the state flower into the shot, right?

Some folks believe this entire area is a treeless prairie.  A lot of it is but every now and then you do encounter what could accurately be labeled a thicket:

You might notice there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  In fact, yesterday was nearly "chamber of commerce weather."  Not only bright sunshine but the wind was rather calm, which is rare for here.  

An enjoyable drive well-earned.  I came off a work week that was busy and loaded with stress and demands, more than the usual amount.  Nor was it finished.  Due to my position and commitments I needed to stay close to town this weekend.  Which is why I wasn't at the fair with my two favorite ladies.  

Even with all that I fully enjoyed the day.  Actually got in some relaxation!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Using It All!

A great morning to relax and write!  Slept well (first deep sleep in several days) and overnight got nice and cool.  How cool?  I'll say this:  I went to sleep with the window open, hearing crickets, which isn't unusual given this time of year and our yard backing up to a creek.  

I wake around 4:30.  I hear nothing from outside.  No chirps, no insect songs.  

I'm no entomologist but I suspect even the crickets knock it off if the temp is cool enough.  Thermometer this morning read just a bit below 48 degrees.  

Autumn is on its way.  We're not even into mid-September but in addition to some cooler nights I'm also seeing leaves falling from my black walnut tree.  


Speaking of the season, yes, I enjoyed last weekend's college football offerings as much as anyone.  Great matchups and a few surprises.  

Loved seeing the Houston Cougars take out OU.  Then the following night the Longhorns went toe-to-toe with the Fighting Irish and won it in overtime.  I love it when the games show (as they do every year) that preseason polls mean nothing.  

Too bad this weekend doesn't have such juicy contests.  As one commenter on SiriusXM's College Sports Nation channel remarked:  "Now we have the big-name institutions playing the schools with directional names."  


Why is today's post titled the way it is?  

It reflects our taking the camper to the lake a couple of weekends ago.  Since we were not far from home the gals did a little grocery shopping for Saturday night's meal.  Inexpensive steak (cooked over charcoal), salad and then a dessert.  

They decided to buy a frozen cherry pie and bake it in the camper's oven.  

Like many RV-ers I don't have great use for the oven.  Reminds me of the time, years ago, where Geogal and I were casually looking at some used campers.  We looked at one in nearby Oberlin, where the owner pointed out that neither he nor anyone else in his family ever had used the oven.  It served as a storage compartment.  He remarked:  "How many people say, 'We're camping.  How about baking a cake?'"  

That phrase has since stuck with our own household.  Yet Geoana likely will bake a cake in the rig before she leaves for college, just to say she's done so.  

Back to the present.  I had to pull out my camcorder and go back over the recording of my walk-through the day I took possession of the travel trailer.  Sure enough, the guy explained how to light the pilot, which then ignites the oven burner.  

It worked!  Made the inside a little warm but that's why you have air conditioning, right?

Cherry pie was good and they remembered to grab a container of Cool Whip as well.  

With successful use of the oven, I can now say I've used everything in the camper.  

Plumbing?  Yes.  Kitchen sink, bathroom sink, tub, toilet.  

Furnace?  Check.  

Refrigerator?  Done.  It works off of both electric and propane.  

Water heater?  Yup.  As with the fridge, works with either electricity or propane.  

(Geoguy's father is reading that last sentence with some jealousy.  When he and Geomon had their 5th wheel he said one of the more aggravating things was trying to light the water heater's pilot.  Almost always it was windy and the camper was pointed in the "wrong" direction.  Sorry Dad.  Industry has made some advances and not only do I have an electric element, the gas burner has an auto-ignite feature.)

Range?  Done.  

And now the oven.  Works like a charm.  

Not too bad for a guy who knew next to nothing about RV-ing just a few years ago.  

Monday, September 05, 2016

Summer Trip To Minnesota, Conclusion

Heading for home!

On the brief (to us, anyway) four-hour drive back to our domicile in Kansas we check out the license plates of cars/trucks either passing us, or that we are passing.  Usually the latter.  It's a rather lame attempt to catch some states before we're done.  

But over the five days we had plenty of luck.  It’s easier to just list the states we didn’t see this trip:  Hawaii, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware and Vermont.  

And here’s a humorous side note about the Aloha State:  The previous day (evening, really) Geogal said she knew where we could go in Omaha where we’d likely see plates from the state halfway out in the Pacific Ocean.  

Creighton University.  

However all of us were exhausted and ready to just get out of the vehicle, relax and eat the evening meal.  So we skipped another catch.  

Another side note:  I think we had just merged onto Interstate 80 at Elm Creek, Nebraska when we started the game.  I mentioned we should just go ahead and write down the four “gimmes:”  Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota. 

Not a bad head start. 


In the words of John Denver, hey it’s good to be back home again.  

Then it was resume life as usual.  

Did I enjoy the Minnesota journey?  Of course.  Never hurts to enjoy the Midwest during the warm months.  Bug splats and sweating sure beat the crud out of possible frostbite. 


While in Rochester I visited a few places in search of something strictly for the camper.  I’ve been looking into purchasing a generator.  Not only will it give much more versatility to where I camp (and how I camp) but it also can come in handy for the occasional power failure back home.  

Yet I didn’t have a lot of luck in seeing one that would fit my needs.  I’m after a 3000-watt variety because if I’m making my own electricity I want to be able to run the air conditioner.  Unfortunately Home Depot, Mills Fleet Farm and Harbor Freight only had the 2000-watt versions.  

Then what do I learn once I return home?  Wally World sells one of the ones of which I am interested.  Hmm, the ship-to-store option sounds really tempting.  Who said I need to go four states away just to have “power?”  

Monday, August 29, 2016

Summer Trip To Minnesota, Part Four

As you read from the previous entry, this day had an early start.  Since we’re now at a Hampton Inn the breakfast isn’t quite the level of the Embassy Suites offerings.  Which means no cooked-to-order omelettes.  

No omelettes at all, actually.  

Since I ate heavy breakfasts the past two mornings I decide to go for the healthy stuff today.  We eat, then it’s back to the room to pack the last few items then head out to the vehicle with the luggage.  

The child has three appointments today and the last one is early afternoon.  We figured as soon as that one was complete we get on the road back towards The Land Of Dorothy. How far will we go today?  Who knows?

In the back of my mind is the recollection of our previous “let’s just drive and see where we end up for the night.”  But to avoid a repeat of that day we are targeting Omaha, a city with plenty of hotel offerings.  

Back to the present.  Driving downtown to Mayo Clinic is a ritual with which we are well-acquainted.  We know which parking garage to enter, we know where the elevators are, we know which direction to go once we egress the lift.  

The womenfolk head to the child’s first appointment while I make a beeline to the blood donor center.  Now lest you think I’m a callous dad who took no time to be involved in his child’s care, in my defense this was a follow-up which did not need to involve me, nor would I have been comfortable there.  Wife and child were in full agreement with my choice to go give blood instead.  

And besides, I’m looking forward to the juice and sweets I receive afterward.  

That done, I rejoin the ladies in the main lobby of Gonda Building.  It’s a while until the next appointment but I still think I made the right call in just checking out of the hotel and staying put for the time being.  My only goof during this timeframe was to not bring a book.  

The time passes, however.  Soon it’s time for the next appointment.  Then the third.  

And then we all get hungry.  Of course, in waiting for the third appointment to wrap up we wind up in the waiting room while the doctor dictates a letter we need for the school.  And wait.  And wait.  

Finally, letter in hand we head out the door, then out of the parking garage.  

Down highway 63 toward Interstate 90.  Time to blow this taco stand!

(We stop at Burger King on the way out of town and satisfy our stomachs.)  

Again, I prefer today to the last time I drove this direction, with snow on both sides of the Interstate and brief white-out time in Iowa.  

Since Mayo took longer than expected we don’t reach Omaha until almost 8 in the evening.  Fortunately we found a Hampton Inn (I should buy stock in that company) that is in a decent neighborhood where we could walk to a restaurant.  

The hotel itself was fine.  Yet people either above us or just adjacent to our room seemed to enjoy wrestling late into the evening.  At least that’s what it sounded like to me.  Thankfully I had my white noise app and earbuds I can use in bed.  

And I look forward to spending the next night in my own home.  

Next entry:  The license plate game!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Summer Trip To Minnesota, Part Three

Since Friday was such a hustle-bustle-be-around-a-whole-lotta-people day we decided Saturday would be more laid-back.  

Following that day of leisure it was time to have one last (grand) Embassy Suites breakfast, then pack and leave the Twin Cities for the easy drive to Rochester.  

Many of the churches were wrapping up their services when we arrived at our destination.  First stop was Apache Mall.  I needed a couple of shorts and it's a good time to buy them (clearance!!).  J.C. Penney fits the bill nicely.  

The gals wanted to shop for other things.  Since I shop like a man I found what I needed in 10 minutes flat.  Give the merchandise to the Geofamily women and I headed over to Scheels.  

It never hurts for me to kill time in a sporting goods-outdoor retailer.  Beats being alone with my thoughts in the women's clothing section while the other family members take two forevers trying to decide what to buy.  (Stupid childhood rotten memories.)  

I check out Scheels' inventory of rifles and shotguns and also research ammunition prices.  It's also nice to see .22 ammo out for sale again, even if it is inside a locked cabinet.  

Finally the women are done and it's time for lunch.  Greek food at Nupa! 

For the rest of the afternoon it's more visits to retailers, however today only involves window shopping.  Got some good ideas for upgrading our house's main bathroom at Home Depot.  

Return to the hotel and spend the rest of the evening watching athletes pursue gold, silver and bronze.  We all hit the hay early as there's an early wake-up time in the morning.  Child's first appointment is 7:45.  

Say goodbye to the fun part of our getaway.  

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Summer Trip To Minnesota, Part Two

It’s Friday morning!  What will we do today?

I had a (rare) bright idea.  How about visiting the campus of the University of Minnesota?  After all we’re right here and I’d like to start a “Big Ten Conference” tally of schools, or at least communities where these institutions are located.  I already have the Big 12 pretty much done.  

U of M would make the Big Ten total three.  Last summer we stopped and paid a visit to the University of Iowa and way back in 2009 we took a spin by the University of Nebraska—Lincoln.  

Yes, I know the ‘Huskers were in the Big 12 conference at that time but I won’t quibble if you won’t.  

I also have no aspiration to get real serious about visiting Big Ten schools or communities.  Given the conference stretches from Lincoln, Nebraska all the way to the Atlantic Ocean I just don’t think it’s do-able given I still work for a living and can’t live the lifestyle of the full-time RV-er.  

Plus. if I was truly serious I would have taken advantage of two opportunities from our Chicago trip last year.  Could have traipsed up to Evanston for a Northwestern visit and likely swung through Champaign-Urbana to add the University of Illinois.  

However, today the gals are fully on board with a visit to the land of the Golden Gophers.  After a leisurely breakfast, including a made-to-order omelette courtesy of Embassy Suites, we make the short drive.  

Since it’s still summer break finding a place to park is no problem.  Feed the meter and we start walking.


(Like how I framed the Minneapolis skyscrapers nicely in the center of the shot?)

Beautiful campus.  Well-landscaped and nice architechture.  After a fashion we locate the information desk and get directions to the admissions office.  

No, no solid commitment yet.  Not even on the “under consideration” list at this time.  Nontheless we were impressed by the attitude and helpful nature of everyone we spoke to .  

Geogal and I felt the need for a reality check so we reminded the child of how cold it gets in Minnesota in winter.  But I then quipped: “If you want a suntan, go to Arizona State.”  

That’s in full humor.  ASU isn’t even on the long list.  Since Geogal and I lived in the Grand Canyon State for many years we had experience and dealings not only with the institution but also with many of its graduates.  And we’ve never been impressed.  

Back to the present.  With the campus visit in the books it’s time to head back to Bloomington.  First stop?  IKEA.  

We haven’t been in one since moving to Kansas 8 years ago.  But some things don’t change and we’re familiar with the Swedish retailer’s routine of walking you through every display area before you arrive at the warehouse and cash registers.  Throughout the walk I was afraid of Geogal saying “We need to schedule a trip back here, and bring the pickup truck.”  (Geoguy’s response:  “Eep.”)  
So I should not have worried.  We did pick up a few small items but that was it.   So what do we do now?

Go across the way to the monument to American capitalism.  

I’m not a big fan of indoor malls to begin with, and it seems the traditional mall, with anchors rounding out a row of retailers, seems to be dying out.  

Yet the MOA is a notable exception.  When you’re the largest indoor mall in the country you’ve got some clout.  

We’ve been here before so the novelty wasn’t significant to us.  Still, the gals had some stores to visit but before all that we chose to do lunch.  

Where?  Why not Tony Roma’s?  I’m always in the mood for ribs and I haven’t been to Roma’s in a very long time.  

They didn’t disappoint.  

Appetite satiated, we re-entered the mall proper and I soon said good-bye to the gals.  They had cosmetic stores to visit and I wanted to check out one of the attractions:  Fly Over America.  

Well worth the 18 bucks.  

But with that done I still had to wait for the ladies.  I chose to spend my time quaffing a mocha from Caribou Coffee, then headed in the direction of the Apple Store (natch).  

Some time later I met up with the gals and we all enjoyed sampling the latest offerings from Cupertino.  

All of that done, time to head back to the hotel.  Catch a late meal at Chick-Fil-A then return to the room to view the Olympics.  

Not a bad way to spend a day in "civilization."  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Summer Trip To Minnesota, Part One

Time for another road trip!  

Unfortunately this isn’t to a new or exotic destination.  Rather it’s a return trip to the Mayo Clinic for Geoana’s post-surgery visit.  We hope this is the last sojourn this year to Minnesota, this one makes the 2016 tally total 4.  (For the record I only went on two of these jaunts, the others consisted only of the female members of the Geohouse.) 

Since the office visit is set for Monday we decided to make this wrap around a weekend and throw in a visit to the Twin Cities as well.  I put in for the days of Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday off.  

Those approved, we are now in preparation phase.  Since we traveled to Rochester MN three times in 2014 and so far three times this year we have a pretty good idea of what’s in store.  Where to stop, when to leave, expected time of arrival, these are all factors that lack any mystery.  

Geogal and I decide we’ll leave a little after 7 on Thursday morning.  That will give us ample time to drive and take necessary breaks along the way.  


Geogal, on Wednesday evening, realizes she forgot to pick up her prescription.  Our pharmacy closes at 6.  

They don’t open until 9 the next morning.  

Great.  Not even into day one of the trip and we’re already behind schedule.  

Well, no reason to be in a hurry in the morning.  

Thursday arrives.  We rise, we eat, we load the vehicle.  We’re about ready to leave when Geogal asks Geoana to get her epi-pen. 

About five minutes later it dawns on us grownups that the child doesn’t know where her epi-pen is.  She looks longer but to no avail.  

Finally we decide we just need to leave anyway.  We can give her a good lecture along the way.  

Stop by the pharmacy.  Now we can hit the road!  


Barely 10 minutes out of town we stop for road construction.  And wait.  And wait.  

No pilot car, just a guy in the roadway with a “Stop” sign.  We look ahead.  The crew is laying asphalt and the large roller is only starting to flatten the warm black stuff.  

Wonderful.  We’re not even out of the county and we’ve run into another delay.  

However this time we have a solution.  I made a U-turn, drove back to U.S. 36 then drove to the intersection with highway 60.  Turn left, takes us right back to highway 383, connecting with it past the construction zone.  When turning onto the highway I look left to see if the delayed traffic is moving again.  


Ha!  Took us a few miles out of the way but at least it got us ahead of where we’d be had we stayed waiting for the road work.  

Score one for Geoguy!!

While we did get on the road later than we intended the rest of our drive that day was uneventful.  

And we arrived at our hotel in Bloomington just about 11 hours after beginning the journey.  Yes, we were tired but still on speaking terms.  And Geogal did well driving through a deluge on I-35 between Ames and Clear Lake, Iowa.  

That was the only precipitation we encountered the whole trip.  I must say this day’s drive was much superior to the last time I journeyed to Minnesota.  That was in January and featured not only arctic temperatures but also a nice amount of blowing snow on the return trip.  

I’ll take temps in the 80’s and 90’s plus a fair amount of green outside.  

Next entry:  Higher education and capitalism!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Prized Possessions

There are times where I want to write an entry however...

What do I write about?  

I didn't want my corner of cyberspace to get stale but long days at work and busy weekends don't make for good downtime, a much-needed ingredient if I'm to compose worthwhile entries.  

Then, last night, inspiration strikes where I least expected.  

Geoana and I were down in the guest bedroom (a.k.a. the room where some stuff is kept because it has no other place) looking for her sleeping bag.  In the process I take some bedding off a box and there I see some items from long ago.  

Almost forty years ago.  

My Star Wars figures.   Geoana sees the case, opens it and says "cool."  

Nice to see the old friends.  

I won't be seeking early retirement with these things.  One doesn't need to magnify the pics above to realize they were played with and sure as heck aren't in the boxes.  

I don't care.  I enjoyed them back then.  I enjoy having them now.  I'd rather keep them.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Almost Mid-July

As usual, just random thoughts.  


I wrote about my not-too-far-from-home camping stint early in June.  What I didn’t include was a couple of unexpected gems.  

The first occurred when I (just for the fun of it, of course) raised the TV antenna on the camper and plugged the DTV stick into the Macbook.  I figured I might (at best) catch a couple of signals, KSNK and KLNE.  

However I was in for a surprise.  Granted, that’s part of the fun of dx-ing whether it’s radio or television.  

The scan showed I grabbed two channels.  Hmm.  

I ended the auto-tune function and lo and behold I’m watching KLBY from Colby.  Their tower is located south of I-70 in between Colby and Goodland, a bit south of Brewster.  That’s a good 100 miles from here.  Signal’s strong and I don’t experience any pixellating or dropouts until the middle of the day, which makes sense given solar interference this time of year.    

To put icing on the cake KLBY’s .2 channel is Me-TV.  So not only can I watch ABC on 4.1, I can catch some great old shows on 4.2.  I caught Star Trek on Saturday night.  Who needs a satellite dish?

On Sunday I wanted to kill some time so I rotated the antenna and did some re-scans.  I hoped to catch the stations from Kearney and Grand Island but no go.  I did finally pick up the nearest station, KSNK.  Almost not worth the effort since it offers NBC programming in 480i only and no  subchannels.  The flagship station, KSNW in Wichita, seems to treat KSNK as a red-headed illegitimate child.  

The second “nice surprise” happened a short time later.  I broke camp and after unplugging, disconnecting, closing, locking and folding numerous things I was ready to hitch ‘er up.  However Geogal was still taking care of something in town so I was on my own.  

Perhaps I was impatient or maybe I had a desire to learn yet another thing about my camper.  After waiting a few more minutes I decided to try to do the hitching myself.  

Jack up the camper’s tongue then begin backing up.  Slowly.  

After a process of backing, getting out to check, then getting back in and adjusting, I actually got the hitch ball underneath the tongue, right where it should be.  And it only took a few minutes.  

Crank down the tongue and I’m on the ball!  Engage the locking mechanism and I’m almost good to go.  

Then Geogal shows up.  I think she was slightly impressed I hitched up on my own.  

This ability opens up a whole new world of possibilities for me.  While I want camping to be primarily a family activity I believe there will be times it will be just me, my truck, and my travel trailer.  


Summer’s in full swing here.  Since we’re past the Fourth of July many families are away on vacations.  The fireflies give us a great show every time the sun goes down.  

And I’m trying to cook as many meals as possible outdoors.  Not only do I like grilling but it helps to keep the house cool when the stovetop or oven isn’t going full force.  Let’s leave that for winter!


I am enjoying blessings if I remember to look for them.  Just this morning I was eating breakfast, already thinking about the workday to come, when I was treated with another of nature’s offerings.  

Just a few feet from my back door was a doe and her two fawns.  Munching away at the growth between my lawn and the creek.  Then they trotted into my next-door neighbor’s backyard (there are few fences in this area).  

That set a wonderful tone for my day.