Daily Archives: December 8, 2020

Jan Goes For The Food . . .

I Go For The Scenery . . . And The Food!

After all, their slogan is Eats!  Drinks!  Scenic Views!

About 12:15 Jan and I headed up Webster way to the Clear Lake Dermatology Office near Ellington Field. It had been a year since I had last seen Dr. Joe and it was time for another head check.

I had a couple of spots I wanted him to look at, and hopefully just freeze off. At least I hope that’s all it needs.

Or else it could be another session in, what I call, The Devil’s Easy Bake Oven.

PDT Extra Crispy 500

Or Photo Dynamic Therapy.

I had called yesterday, wanting to get an appointment before the end of the year so I wouldn’t have to pay the annual deductible yet. I asked for a Tuesday or Thursday appointment before the end of year, and after a few moments, the nurse said, “How about tomorrow at 1:15”. So I guess they had a cancellation.


And as it turned out, a little poking and prodding, and a few squirts of Liquid Nitrogen, and I was done for another year. So no Extra Crispy in the Easy Bake Oven this time.

I did have a little fun teasing Dr. Joe about his ‘toy’ that I found around back of the office parked in a little, almost hidden, alcove.

It was a shiny red, very new looking, Porsche 911, which starts out at about $100,000, and goes up, WAY UP, from there. So when I asked him if that was his shiny red toy hidden around back, he looked surprised, and somewhat sheepish, and mumbled something about “his other car was in the shop.”

I was afraid to ask what his ‘other car’ was.

Then it was on down Hwy 3 to one of our X-favorite places, Twin Peaks. I say ‘X’ because we used to eat here all the time, maybe about once a week, and even coordinated our visits to the work schedule of our favorite server, Lauren.

Twin Peaks 4 500        Twin Peaks 4a - Lauren Bell 500

But we kind of drifted away when Lauren left to get married, and they kept dropping our favorite dishes, first the Average Joes, mini-hot dog sliders, and then the Pulled Pork Sliders.

But they still have Jan’s favorite Tomato-Basil Soup, and my Spicy Venison Chili, so with that, a House Salad, and splitting a Smoked Pork Cubano Sandwich, we’re back.

And like I said, the scenery was nice too. Unfortunately though, it wasn’t Lingerie Week.

Twin Peaks Lingerie Week 500

But you can’t have everything, I guess.

Then after Jan dropped off a favorite Christmas Sweatshirt to be altered, our next stop was the Webster PO for Christmas Stamps, and then a quick visit to my client’s to fix a small problem. Then, after an HEB stop for a few things we were home about 5.

A very nice day.




December 8, 2019

Sunday Dec 8th in NYC . . .

Today we were all up and down Manhattan Island, and that included TWO boat rides.

After breakfast at our hotel, we Ubered down to the 9/11 World Trade Center site, now called One World Trade Center, or the Freedom Tower.

1WTC- Building

When we were here in 2009 it was all pretty much just a big hole in the ground, only visible by looking through peepholes in a tall fence. But now it’s all finished.

The former footprints of the Twin Towers are now marked by reflecting pools,


surrounded by a border marking the names of the 3000+ people killed on 9/11.


Off to the side we could see some of the many old buildings that miraculously survived the Twin Tower’s collapse.

1WTC- St Pauls Chapel

We had planned to do the 9/11 Museum, but found there was a two hour wait to get in, so since we had firm plans for later in the day, we decided to save it for our next visit to NYC. So our next stop was the Oculus, the entrance to the subway system underneath One World Center, combined with a shopping mall.


The building design is said to symbolize a dove with clipped wings.

And the inside is just as amazing.

1WTC- Oculus Inside

We spent some time walking around inside checking out all the shops on the several levels. While we we on the lower level, we noticed the subway stop and realized we could take the subway directly to our next planned stop, the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

And rather than the $20-$30 Uber ride we had planned, we could ride the subway there for 2 $3.00 Single Ride passes. So after walking around a little more we bought our passes from the ticket machine and off we went.

It was only about 20 minutes later when we were walking into the Ferry terminal, and luckily for us, right on to the next ferry. We had already done Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty when we were here in 2009, so our plan was to ride the ferry over and back, just for the views.

Going over, we passed Ellis Island, once the nation’s busiest immigration inspection station from 1892 to 1954, processing over 12 million immigrants during that time.

Staten Island Ferry - Ellis Island

Then it was on past the Statue of Liberty, with some more great views.

Staten Island Ferry - Statue of Liberty

Staten Island Ferry - Statue of Liberty 1

And looking back toward the city, we got a couple of great shots of the New York skyline,

Staten Island Ferry - NYC Skyline

and the Freedom Tower.

Staten Island Ferry - 1WTC

When we got to Staten Island, we had planned to just stay on board and ride the same ferry back, but had to disembark because the crew were taking their lunch break.

But in about 45 minutes we were on our way back on another ferry.

We had next planned to Uber up to Bryant Park, near Rockefeller Center, so Jan could check out the Christmas Market that was set up in one end of the park. But I noticed that taking the same subway train back in the opposite direction would drop us off just a couple of blocks from the Park. And for just 2 more $3 passes. Nice!

Bryant Park - 1

Jan found a number of Christmas gifts as we made the rounds, including some unique one of a kind items.

Bryant Park - 2

And we finally got to see snow in NYC. Tucked off over in a shady corner was this.

Bryant Park - Snow

Finishing up, we decided to Uber back to our hotel since we had already done so much walking, almost 5 miles total, according to Jan’s Fitbit. Plus we only had a couple of hours to get dressed and down to the Chelsea Pier area for our Bateaux Holiday Lights Dinner Cruise.

Bateau Cruise - 1

We had paid extra for a window table, but looking at some of the online photos I was afraid we might be at a table with other couples, but no, we had our own table with a great view, and a beautiful lady waiting for me.

Bateau Cruise - Window Table

The table was elegantly set, and strewn with rose petals, which turned out to be special for us, because I had listed this as an anniversary cruise for us, which it was, but just a couple of months late.

Bateau Cruise - Table Setting

The ship looked to be almost completely full, with everyone having a good time.

Bateau Cruise - Room

The menu was much like our recent Viking River Cruise with several choices each for an appetizer, entrée, and a dessert.

After we ordered our meal, I saw a drink that I thought Jan might like on the menu, so I ordered us two Poinsettias.

Bateau Cruise - Poinsettia

Made with Champagne, Cointreau, and Cranberry Juice, they proved to be pretty potent. Much more so than most of the restaurant drinks we normally get around here.

Bateau Cruise - Room 2

Our meal was delicious and to top it off, toward the end of our meal, the hostess brought out a bouquet of red roses for Jan, also in celebration for our anniversary.

Bateau Cruise - Roses

Along the way we got some great views of the NYC skyline,

Bateau Cruise - Skyline

And a really close-up view of the Statue of Liberty.

Bateau Cruise - Statue of Liberty

To make sure that everyone gets a fantastic show, the captain stations the ship as close as he’s allowed to get to the Statue, and then uses his bow and stern thrusters to just rotate in place, I think about 4 times around.

Bateau Cruise - Statue of Liberty 2

Finishing up our 3 hour cruise, yes, I know, I had expected to have a problem getting a Uber to come down into the dock area since it’s a roundabout way and there’s a fee. But an enterprising gypsy cab was waiting at the dock, looking for customers. And his fee to take us back to our hotel was less than our Uber ride there.

Tomorrow, Monday the 9th of December, will be our last full day in NYC, and we’ll be visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) and also Serendipity, a restaurant that Jan’s really looking forward to.

Stay tuned.

Thought For The Day:

“There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally, and attempting to make them equal.” – Frederich Hayek




December 8, 2012

Fireworks & A Boat Parade . . .

After a very nice day doing pretty much nothing, Jan and I headed out about 3:45 to meet Chris, Linda, Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at Franca’s Italian Restaurant up in Clear Lake. Unfortunately Piper had to work, so she couldn’t join us.

We were getting together to have dinner and then park down on Clear Lake to watch the annual Clear Lake Boat Parade. Every year people decorate their boats and cruise around Clear Lake and then out into Galveston Bay and then back to the marina where prizes are awarded for the best looking boat in a number of different categories. We attended a number of times over the years and have always enjoyed it.

Franca’s was called Franco’s until a few years ago when the daughter took over the family restaurant from her father, Franco.

We first ate at Franco’s on December 17th, 1978. I remember the date so specifically because is was the first place we ate at after we moved here from Montgomery, AL when I went to work for NASA on the Space Shuttle.

When we first were there, Franca was just a little girl running around the restaurant. It doesn’t seem like long enough for her to have grown up and to be running things now.

But after all the buildup for going to Franca’s, Jan and I got there first and found they didn’t open until 5pm, which wouldn’t give up enough time to have a nice dinner and get to the boat parade by 6.

So I called an audible (by calling Chris and Brandi) and we moved things to Mom Alone’s Mexican Restaurant right next door. The food was good, and Landon was good (he really likes chips and salsa), so it was a very nice meal. We’ll save Franca’s for another time.

Leaving the restaurant and meeting back at Chris’, we all headed to the Lockheed building right next door where we could sit our chairs right out on the side of Clear Lake and watch the boat parade come by.

But this year they started out with a great fireworks show out over the lake that lasted for almost 10 minutes.

Boat Parade 1

Boat Parade 2

Boat Parade 3

Boat Parade 4

Boat Parade 5

Boat Parade 6

Boat Parade 7

Boat Parade 8


And like all good firework shows, this one had a great finale.

Boat Parade 9

Boat Parade 10

Boat Parade 11

Boat Parade 12


Then a few minutes later the boats started moving into position and headed our way. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a lot of good boat pics. The distance was too great, and the light was too low. But I did get a few good ones.

They had everything from sailboats,

Boat Parade 14]


to cabin cruisers,

Boat Parade 13


to speedboats, and more.

Boat Parade 18

Boat Parade 15

Boat Parade 19


One thing that was kind of interesting, at least for us, was that the sailboat shown before, the one with the tilted mast, got stuck in the mud. The channel is a little narrow there, and outside the channel it’s just a mud bottom, perfect to get your keel stuck in.

After the parade was over, several power boats converged and pulled him out of the mud.

Boat Parade 17

So after a really nice family evening (except for missing Piper) we all headed home for the night.

Looking at the weather report, it looks like winter is finally on its way. Tomorrow the high is supposed to be 81 with a low of 51. But then Monday the high is 53 with a low of 35. And that’s pretty much the way it’s supposed to stay for the next 10 days or so.


Thought for the Day:

“Oh, bother!” said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.




December 8, 2015

See, I Knew It Was Just Her . . .

Jan and I headed out for Houston about 1:15. We were meeting up with everyone to do the Houston Zoo Lights Christmas light show. But we had left early so we could make a stop and then grab some lunch before ending up at Brandi’s house.

Our first stop was Harbor Freight Tools because I wanted to get a couple of extra blades for my Multi-Function Oscillating Tool that I plan to use to cut into the wallboard behind the shower to track down my leak. But Harbor Freight is one of those places that you can’t just go in and buy only what you want. You end up with 10 or 15 other things things that are on sale and you just had to have. Even Jan found several things she needed.

Well, maybe not needed, but really wanted.

Finishing up at HFT, and remembering there was a Whataburger nearby, this became our go-to place for lunch. Although I went to the one in Carthage, TX once or twice a week while we were on the gate, this was both Jan’s and my first time to actually eat in one. It was always take-out before.

Regular readers will remember my regular trials and tribulations with the cashier at the Whataburger in Carthage. She could just not get my order straight, no matter what I did.

I would repeatedly tell her I wanted a #6 with cheese, and ONLY mustard, ketchup, tomatoes and grilled onions. Her next utterance would always be, “You want lettuce on that?”

And then we would circle back around a couple of more times until I finally saw the correct items on the little screen in front of me.

And then we would start in on mine.

“You want lettuce on that?”


But this time when I told the young lady that I wanted a #6 large combo with cheese, and ONLY mustard, ketchup, tomatoes and grilled onions, she hit a few keys, read my order back to me, and we were ready to move on to my order.

See, I knew it wasn’t me.

Well, sometimes it is. But not this time.

Wrapping up our really good Whataburger meal, we headed over to Brandi and Lowell’s about 15 minutes away, getting there just in time to hop in the car with Lowell to go pick Landon up at  his school which is only about 10 minutes from their house.

Then we were off to pick up Brandi at her office building at the corner of Westheimer and Beltway 8, so we were in the thick of the Houston going-home traffic by then. But we got to the Houston Zoo about 5:15, still in time to get a good parking spot close to the entrance, which was nice considering how tired we were walking back to the car.

The Zoo itself closes at 5pm, and then reopens at 6pm for the Zoo Lights, and Chris, Linda, and Piper showed right just a little before they opened the gate.

The Zoo Lights were really spectacular, much better than the ones at Moody Gardens in Galveston that we checked out several years ago. Though I think that’s mainly due to all the big oak trees at the zoo that they don’t have at Moody Gardens.

Zoo Lights 1

Zoo Lights 2

Landon got one of those whirling LED wands and had a great time with it.

Zoo Lights - Landon

Zoo Lights 3

Zoo Lights 4

Zoo Lights 5

Even the flamingos were still up and about, although they don’t look as pink in the dark.

Zoo Lights - Flamingos

Zoo Lights 6

Jan even had a moose sighting, probably her first one in Houston.

Zoo Lights - Moose

Brandi, Piper, and Landon even got a carousel ride together.

Zoo Lights - Carousel

Every time you turned a corner it was just one spectacular scene after another.

Zoo Lights 7

They even had a large ‘S’ gauge train set on display, one of which was Landon’s favorite, Thomas the Tank Engine.

Zoo Lights - Trains

Zoo Lights 8

Zoo Lights 9

Zoo Lights 11

Zoo Lights 12

One of the last places we visited had this display of Jellyfish. Really neat.

Zoo Lights - Jellyfish

Zoo Lights - Jellyfish 2

Finishing up on a real Christmas note,

Zoo Lights 10

we got our hugs and goodbyes from Chris, Linda, and Piper, and headed out, reversing our trip by dropping Brandi off at her office so she could pick up her truck, and then we all headed back to Katy to Brandi and Lowell’s house.

Then getting Jan settled in, I turned around and headed back to Columbus and the rig. I did stop off at the Kroger’s for gas, now down to $1.56 a gallon.

How Low Can It Go.

I finally got home about 10:15, got this blog done so I could get to bed early and get an early start tomorrow on all my plumbing projects.

Thought for the Day:

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you! — Pericles (430 B.C.)




December 8, 2016

Sam & Steven . . .

Jan was in Happy Homemaker mode this morning, so she whipped up a a loaf of Cranberry Orange Nut Bread, made with fresh cranberries.

Jan's Cranberry Orange Nut Bread

Unfortunately it wasn’t quite cool and ready to try before it was time to leave for our San Antonio day trip. So we were on the road about 11am with our first stop the Tuesday Morning in the Olmos area of town.

It only took Jan about 10 minutes to find 4 boxes of high-end cards, a total of 60, that were originally priced at $20 a box, so $80 of cards for only $25. Nice.

Then it was back down south to the City Base area to the Sam’s Club for my prescription and a couple of other things. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to use the new Scan & Go app that I talked about yesterday. Since I checked out at the pharmacy, I just let them handle the other two items as well. Maybe next time.

Then it was a couple of miles down the road to the theater to see Dr. Strange, the latest in the Marvel Universe pantheon of superhero movies. Although I guess you can’t really call Dr. Strange a ‘superhero’.

His backstory is a little different from the typical superhero one – you know, born on another planet, bitten by a radioactive spider, really a Norse god,  or maybe given a lantern by a dying alien, all the normal ways to gain superpowers.

No, Dr. Steven Strange was a world-renowned, but arrogant and egotistical, neurosurgeon whose hands were seriously injured in a car accident. As a result he can no longer do surgery. So after exhausting the range of Western medicine, he journeys to Nepal to seek out an ancient sorceress to heal him. Instead he becomes a master sorcerer himself and resolves to spend his life making up for his past.

The casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange is an almost perfect match to the comic book version that I remember from the 60’s.


Although not nearly as cerebral as Arrival , the sci-fi movie we saw a couple of days ago, it was fun and added a new link to the ongoing story line in the Avengers’ movies and TV series. Well recommended if you’re into this kind of movie.

It seems like most sci-fi movies, and Marvel movies in particular, have extra scenes during the credits, scenes that usually add a lead-in to the next movie, and sometimes the whole over-arcing Marvel story line. And the RunPee app always gives us the info on these extra scenes.

Since this movie’s been out for over a month, there were only about 10 people in the theater, and most of them stayed for the first extra scene in the middle of the credits, but only Jan and I, and two others, stayed for the second one at the end of the credits. When I see people leaving early like this, I’m always tempted to yell out that there’s more, and I have done it a couple of times in the past, but not this time.

After the movie, our last stop was the nearby Cracker Barrel for their Thursday Turkey and Dressing. Just as good as always.

Then it was back on the road, heading home, getting back to the rig about 6:30.

A very nice day.

Thought for the Day:

“Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.” ― Joseph Heller




December 8, 2017

Snow Flurries? No, 2” of Snow Instead . . .

When I went to bed this morning about 1pm, I looked outside and it was not snowing. But a few minutes after 7 when Jan got up, I heard her squealing.

Getting up and looking out, it was, to quote Landon, ‘a winter wonderland’.

Snow in Park

Snow on Tree

Snow on Truck


That’s 2” on the ruler.

Snow on Ruler

In case you’re wondering, that snow in my rain gauge melted out to .25” of rain.

Snow on Rain Gauge

Although the ground was covered in snow, the roads were clear and not slick at all, so I had no problem getting to work.

It never got out of the 30’s today, with high 20’s tonight. But tomorrow we’re looking for low 60’s  That’s Texas weather,what can I say.

I spent most of the day repairing epilator cords. Going through some old cabinets I  found a box of cords of all different types, many with no or broken connectors. When I ask my client about them he said no one had been able to repair them.

Don’t know who had worked on them before, but by the time I left a little before 4pm, I had 17 of them repaired. And most of them only needed to be resoldered, so I don’t know what the problem was. The other few did need new connectors made, which I did out of old ballpoint pen tubes and heat shrink tubing. They looked almost new.

I’ve still got about a dozen more to go that I should finish up on Monday. Unless another crisis rears its head.

Getting home about 4:45, Jan and I headed right back out and up I-45 to the Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant up in Webster. And yes, we had Mexican just last night.. What’s your point?

We pretty much go to Chuy’s for their Mexi-Cobb Salad along with their Creamy Jalapeno Dressing.

Chuy's Mex-Cobb Salad 2

But I also started out with a small bowl of their Chicken Tortilla Soup. Very good, and filled with chicken and white cheese.

Chuy's Tortilla Soup

Then for dessert we shared a piece of their Tres Leches cake, but we were so full that we had to bring h half of it home.

Chuy's Tres Leches

We’ve got a busy social schedule for the weekend, with lunch tomorrow with old friends, Bob and Maria, followed up with dinner on Sunday with another old friend down in Galveston at the Old Mexican Café.

Really looking forward to both get-togethers.

The Word of the Day is: Dundrearies

Thought for the Day

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.




December 8, 2018

Baby, It Was Cold Outside . . ,

We had a nice slow morning/afternoon today, mostly just doing much of nothing.

Really nice.

Jan and I headed out for the Kemah Boardwalk about 3:45, wanting to get ahead of the expected crowd for the Boat Parade. Miss Piper was supposed to meet us there but had to bow out at the last minute.

Her loss, and ours too, since we were hoping to see her.

We planned to have a leisurely dinner at Saltgrass Steakhouse and then walk right next door to the channel between Clear Lake and Galveston Bay for the parade.

We got seated within a couple of minutes so we didn’t need to use the Priority Seating that comes with our Landry’s Select Club membership, but it was nice to have as a backup.

We started off, as usual, with our favorite Wedge Salad, one of the best we’ve found anywhere.

Saltgrass Kemah Wedge Salad

Then, continuing on down our ‘favorites’ path, Jan got the Center-Cut Filet, with the Grilled Green Beans,

Saltgrass Center Cut Filet

while I got the 12oz Ribeye, also with the Grilled Green Beans.

Saltgrass Kemah Ribeye

The beans are really good, but are not on the ‘Sides’ menu. On our last visit to Saltgrass, Jan noticed them in a photo of another entrée, and found we could order them too.

We also each got a serving of the creamy horseradish sauce to go with our steaks. And it also makes a good dip for the green beans.

Everything was as good as we’ve come to expect from Saltgrass, and so knowing we wouldn’t be able to finish them, we both got desserts.

So Jan got the Cheesecake,

Saltgrass Kemah Two Fork Cheesecake

while I got the Pecan Pie Bread Pudding with Bourbon Cream Sauce.

Saltgrass Kemah Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

As the waiter sat it down in front of me, I was stunned. It looked a lot smaller in the photo on the menu. II was the size of my dinner plate.

Delicious, and both of us had plenty to take home.

By now it was a little before 6pm, so we headed over to the channel to get a viewing spot along the rail.

And it was a good thing since the crowd filled in behind us pretty quickly. The bad thing was that the first of the boats didn’t show up for another hour, and it was freezing. Or at least darn close.

Although we were bundled up pretty good, with coats, gloves, and watch caps, the 45 degree temps and the15 knot wind running along the channel gave us a wind chill in the mid to high 30’s. Yikes!

But finally the boats started showing up a little after 7pm. So to finish up I’ll just post some of the photos, with some more tomorrow night.

2018 Christmas Boat Parade 1

2018 Christmas Boat Parade 2

2018 Christmas Boat Parade 3

2018 Christmas Boat Parade 6

2018 Christmas Boat Parade 7

2018 Christmas Boat Parade 12

2018 Christmas Boat Parade 13

2018 Christmas Boat Parade 18

2018 Christmas Boat Parade 9

More Tomorrow.

Thought for the Day:

And there’s nothing wrong with that song, either!