Daily Archives: December 16, 2020

So Sad To Hear . . .

I heard from my cousin’s wife up in Athens, AL this morning that my Aunt Janice is dying of terminal cancer and only has a few days to live. She’s been in hospice for a few weeks, and three of her children have come from out of state to help take care of her.

I have a really warm place in my heart for my Aunt Jan, not just because she was family, but also because she was instrumental in my meeting my Jan 53 years ago, in 1967.

At the beginning of the summer my mother was talking to her and mentioned that I was thinking about heading down to the Alabama Gulf Coast or maybe Florida to work for the summer. So Aunt Janice invited me to come down and stay with them as long as I wanted.

At that time she and my uncle Ed lived in Sanford, FL, where Ed had a large veterinary practice and a big house with plenty of room. So around the first part of June I headed down that way, but stopping off in Gulf Shores, AL to catch up with some old friends along the way.

Sanford is about 30 miles from Orlando, so once I got settled in, I started checking out the want ads in the area, but nothing popped out at first. Then around the 1st of July I came across an ad in the Florida Today paper for a job at an amusement park over in Titusville, about 35 miles away.

It was called Florida Wonderland and they were looking for someone to do take care of the animals at their Marine Life facility, and also do the animal act performances there. So after meeting with them and getting the job, I started on July 5th.

Later that day I walked across US A1A to get a couple of buckets of ice. We didn’t have an ice machine, so to keep the fish iced down that we fed the animals, I needed to bring it back from there.

So that afternoon when I walked into the Miss Kitty’s Pleasure Palace & Saloon, part of Western town, to pick up the ice,

Florida Wonderland - Miss Kitty's Pleasure Palace

the first thing that caught my eye was a tall, redheaded saloon girl. And I guess you could say I was smitten.

It took me two weeks of nagging to get her to go out with me, so I guess today I’d be a stalker, but back then I guess I was just persistent.

And that’s how it all started.

Thought For The Day:

How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said?




December 16, 2010

BAHEP and SATOP . . .

We awoke this morning to much better weather than we’ve had the last couple of day. Both warmer and less windy.

About 11:30 Jan and I did a 1 mile walk, though with less wind and higher temps, it was actually kind of hot. But it looks like that will change again in the next couple of days.

Getting back to the rig Jan fed the birds. At least today the feeder wasn’t blowing sideways.

I did get this photo of a pelican out in front of the rig. Unfortunately he didn’t come close enough for Jan to feed him.

Pelican on Bayou

A little before 6pm we headed up to Pasadena to have dinner with our good friend Barbara Cutsinger. Barbara is a great cook and we always look forward to eating with her.

We’ve known Barbara for about 5 years since I did IT support for BAHEP (Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership) where she works.

BAHEP is a membership group that works to stimulate regional economic development and employment. And through their SATOP (Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program) group they also connect small business owners who need technical advice with a NASA scientist or engineer.

One of the things that Barbara does there is compile and publish the Business Development Update, a document that details commercial and retail development in the area, along with office and warehouse space available.

When we’re on the road we always enjoy reading the latest issue since it lets us keep up with what’s going on back here.

We got back home about 10:30 and Jan went right to bed, since we’ve got to get an early start tomorrow. We’re Landon sitting after Brandi takes him in for his 4 month checkup.

More tomorrow…


Thought for the Day:

“We treat terrorists with kid gloves, and citizens with rubber gloves.”




December 16, 2012

It’s Landon Time . . .

We woke up this morning to pouring rain so it was time for hot coffee and no morning walk. In other words, a nice, quiet, overcast day.

But finally, a little before 2, Jan and I headed up to Friendswood to Landon-sit this afternoon. But we left early enough to make a couple of stops.

The first was at a CVS pharmacy to pick up the Christmas cards that I had uploaded last night. But as it turns out they were having printer problems and our cards weren’t ready yet. We’ll check back on our way home.

Our next stop was King Food for our Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce and Jalapenos, XXXXX Spicy. Seems we can’t go for more than a week without our King Food fix. And lucky us, we’ll be eating there this Thursday night with friends, and then again next Monday night, Christmas Eve, for our traditional family dinner together.

About 3:30 we headed over to Brandi and Lowell’s to Landon-sit for the afternoon. It’s Landon’s Aunt Sherry’s birthday, and Lowell and Brandi are taking her to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory right down the road at Baybrook Mall.

On a side note, on last week’s Big Bang Theory, the one about Santa Claus, Sheldon mentions his mother taking him to the Baybrook Mall in Galveston when he was 5. Baybrook Mall is not in Galveston. It’s actually on the very southern edge of Houston. Galveston County starts down the road a couple of miles, but Galveston itself is about 25 miles south of here. Just keeping the facts straight.

Landon likes to play Peek A Boo when he sees the camera pointed at him, so it can be a real challenge to get a picture sometimes.

Landon Peek A Boo 1

Landon Peek A Boo 2

Landon Peek A Boo 4

Landon Peek A Boo 5

This went on for about 30 minutes until Kitty decided to curl up on the sofa and bring the game to a halt.

Brandi, Lowell, and Sherry got back about 6:30 so Jan and I headed back to the rig. We did make a quick stop at Kroger’s for a few things, and another try for our Christmas cards at CVS, again with no luck. I told them to cancel the order and I will submit them to another CVS location tonight.

On a final note, I saw this sign the other day and I’m not quite sure what to make of it.

Psychic Karate

What exactly is “Psychic Karate”?

Mind over Matter, The Power of Positive Thinking, or maybe “Use the Force, Luke” from Star Wars.

Almost makes me want to call the number and find out.


Thought for the Day:

Since 1951, when records started being kept, there has never been a mass murder at a place where guns were allowed.




December 16, 2014

Road Trip Wrap Up . . .

Finishing up yesterday’s road trip.

Before we left the Gone With The Wind exhibit, I discovered a rare treat in a side alcove, an original Gutenberg Bible.

Gutenberg Bible 2

Printed in 1454 or 1455, this two volume set is one of only 48 still-existing sets, and one of only 5 sets in the United States.

Gutenberg Bible 3

I was interested to learn that the red highlights were actually put in by hand, by a person called a ‘rubricator’. Gutenberg had originally tried to print each page twice, once for the red ink parts,and then for the black text. But he was never really able to perfect it, probably because of the difficulty of keeping the pages aligned.

So instead, he printed the pages in black, leaving empty areas to be filled in by hand by the ‘rubricator’, usually a priest or a monk especially hired for the task,

It was really amazing to look at these volumes on the other side of the glass case and know they were printed more than 550 years ago and handled by Johannes Gutenberg himself.

We left the GTTW exhibit and drove about 15 minutes to have lunch at Trudy’s Texas Star.

We used to eat here every time we came up to Austin to visit our daughter Brandi when she was in college here, and always really enjoyed it.

Trudy's Texas Star

But it’s been a long time since we’ve been back, so we wanted to try it again while we’re in town. And we weren’t disappointed.

I had the Migas and Beef Fajitas

Trudy's Migas

and Jan had the Beef Chile Rellenos

Trudy's Rellenos

Jan said these were the best rellenos she’s ever eaten, beating out the previous #1, Esther’s in Placentia, CA who are renowned in California for their rellenos.

My Migas were delicious, but the Beef Fajitas were fantastic, probably the best I ever had. It seemed like that after they were cooked normally, they were coated in a rub of some sort and then put on the grill for a short time. This gave them a slight charred crust on them, making them really great.

Also really good were the Borracho Beans, cooked with bacon and onions. as well as the perfectly seasoned rice. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to go back soon.

Heading toward home after our great meal, we made a stop by a local Christmas Store so Jan could look for some Christmas lights she wanted and then it was back on the road home. After making a quick pitstop at Buc-ee’s, we got back to the rig a little after 6pm, another fun, but busy day.

Getting home I found a spray bottle of De-Solv-It Contractor’s Solvent sitting on the rig step.


I figured it was either left by Christmas Elves, or maybe my friend Tom Christian who thought it might remove the drill mud from the roof of our rig. And according to the label, it should remove just about anything. In fact the label warns you to test the surface you’re using it on to be sure it doesn’t dissolve it too. According to the website, it cleans stained concrete, removes silicone, caulk, putty nails, floor adhesive, water seal, wet paint (won’t harm dry paint), oil, roofing tar, wax, diesel soot, pine sap and resin, and more from virtually any surface! And apparently, according to one commenter, it will even take the skunk smell off of dogs. Who knew?

So later in the afternoon, I got the ladder out and gave it a try on the top of the front cap. But unfortunately it didn’t really touch it. I could see a slight darkening on the towel I was using, but I couldn’t see any change in the roof surface. But later I did try it on the diesel soot on the rig’s chrome exhaust pipe and it cleaned it right up.

So it’s back to the drawing board on the drill mud.


Thought for the Day:

Merry Christmas from the Enterprise!

Merry Christmas from the Enterprise




December 16, 2016

Flash and Cash . . .

I was hoping to get another text from Todd about a gate this weekend, but no luck so far. But I still could, so here’s hoping.

Of course, I’m not sure a gate in 30° weather would be much fun.

About 1pm Jan and I headed out for lunch and Wal-Mart. Our lunch stop was our second visit to Flashburger. Although it has the look of a franchise location, according to Google, it’s the only one.

As before, I had the El Jefe burger, with Two Patties, Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, a Fried Egg, Lettuce, Tomato, Onions  Pickles, Chipotle Mayo, and Flash Sauce.

Which piled all together looks like this.

Flashburger El Jefe

This time we got their Regular Fries  which were really good. There are two different ways to fix French Fries, low heat and high heat.

High heat (375° – 400°) gets the dry, crispy McDonald’s type fries, while a lower heat (325° or so) gets you the softer, moist, textured fries with a lot of flavor. It’s not a matter of how long they’re cooked. In fact, if you cooked them longer at the low heat, they will just get tough and chewy, and not crispy.

Jan got a single patty burger, with Cheddar Cheese, Sautéed Mushrooms, Sautéed Onions, Tomato, Mustard, and Ketchup. Hers looked like this.

Flashburger Jan 2

Both our burgers were delicious, as well as the fries. There will be a third visit for sure.

Before we left I told Jan that I was going to the restroom to wash my ‘good’ greasy fingers. When she looked questioningly, I said, “You know, good, from greasy hamburgers and fries, and not ‘spent the afternoon replacing the wheel bearings on the car’ greasy.

As we were leaving we told the cashier that the only thing that would make the meal better would have been onion rings. She said that they were working on onion rings, wings, chicken tenders, and fried green beans. Looking forward to it.

Then it was on to the Wal-Mart right up the hill, and that’s where things went off the rails.

Our first stop was at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for Jan, and when I reached into my back pocket for my wallet, my hand all the way out the bottom of the pocket. The bottom was torn out and my wallet was gone.

I backtracked out to the truck while Jan made a quick stop at the Customer Service Desk to see if it had been turned in. Then we drove back to Flashburger and when I walked in, the cashier was holding up my wallet.


I figured it would be rude to check things until I was outside, but was a little disappointed to see that, although my cards were all there, my cash was gone, somewhere between $20 and $40. Not a big deal, but really?

The only thing I can figure is that my pocket got hung up and tore on the booth bench seat slats, and then fell out when I went to the restroom to wash my hands. I’m assuming that that whoever turned it in took the cash.

Well, maybe a kid got a better Christmas.

Thought for the Day:

I don’t like hunches. Too many times they’re right.