Daily Archives: December 17, 2020

Hot Chowder and Cold Weather . . .

Jan and I decided that today was going to be a fun day, so about 12:30 we headed down toward Galveston. But our first stop was right down FM 1764 at the New England Lobster & Chowder food truck. Yes, a food truck.

With the colder weather coming in, Jan was jonsing for some good New England Clam Chowder, and when we DuckDuckGo’d it, the New England Lobster and Chowder food truck showed up on every list.

So we thought we’d check it on our way down to Galveston and try a bowl. And all the lists were right!

New England Lobster & Chowder Food Truck

We each got a bowl of the Clam Chowder to eat there before heading on down to the Island.

Clam Chowder

And it was as good as anything we had in New England back in 2009, or in Florida back in 2018. Turns out that a lot of New Englanders have moved down to Florida, so the chowder there is as good as what we had in NE.

Then it was on down to the Island and our real lunch destination, Tortuga’s Mexican Kitchen on the Seawall. Owned by the same company, Tortuga’s is an upscale version of Monterey’s, like we’ve eaten at for years.

Tortuga's Galveston

As usual we started off with bowls of their Chicken Tortilla Soup, just as good as Monterey’s up in Alvin.

Then so we’d have leftovers for tomorrow, we got the Super Sampler Platter,

Tortuga's Super Platter

with a little bit of everything.

And after a great lunch, we parked along the Seawall for a while, watching the waves and the birds overhead.

Galveston Seawall 20201217

Then after about an hour, we headed back toward home, though with a couple of stops along the way.

And ironically, our first stop was once again at the New England Lobster & Chowder food truck. Jan wanted to get a couple of more bowls of Clam Chowder for tomorrow night’s supper.

Then it was on over to Cowboy Coffee for a couple of large Hot Chocolates, made with Ghirardelli chocolate, cream, vanilla, and homemade whipped cream. Jan says it’s ‘Decadent’.

All in all, a really great ‘fun’ day.

And as you will find out a little further down in the old blogs, 42 years ago today Jan, Chris, Brandi, and I arrived in Houston, where the next day I started work at Johnson Space Center on the Space Shuttle.

Nice memories.

Thought For The Day:

“We don’t seem to be able to stop crime, so why not legalize it and put a heavy tax on it. We have taxed other industries out of business; it might work here.” – Will Rogers, March 20, 1931




December 17, 2011

Chip off the Old Block . . .

First off, more Landon pics.

This is his daycare photo,

Landon School Picture 2011a

and this is Brandi and Lowell’s Christmas Card this year.

Landon Christmas Card 2011a

About 11:15 Jan and I headed into downtown Houston, actually the Houston Heights area. Jan wanted to visit Penzey’s Spices and we wanted to have lunch at a place our son-in-law had recommend, Carter & Cooley Deli.

Carter & Cooley Deli

Right down the street from Penzey’s, it was a great recommendation. Jan had the Turkey Rueben, and I had a Cuban, with a cup of chili. Very good. I think we’ve found our new favorite deli.

Back at Penzey’s, Jan found the bottle of pure vanilla extract to replace the one that fell out of the pantry and broke on a recent travel day before we got back to Houston. She also wanted to pick up some cocoa powder for Christmas cookie baking.

Heading back to the Clear Lake area we stopped off at Home Depot, before ending up at Brandi and Lowell’s. We (and by we, I mean Jan) were going to babysit Landon while Brandi and Lowell take Lowell’s sister Sherry out for her birthday dinner.

Happy Birthday, Sherry!

While they were out, we took Landon to Barcenas for dinner.  And this is where we found out that Landon really takes after his PaPa (me).

Landon Barcenas 1

It takes out he really likes spicy salsa. We were giving Landon plain chips while we were waiting for our food, and Landon, watching us dip our chips in the salsa, starting trying to reach the salsa with his chip.

So I dipped his chip in a little salsa and handed it back to him. He put it in his mouth and his eyes lit up. He started waving the chip for more. A little later I dipped a couple of the fries that came with his chicken tenders into the salsa instead of ketchup, and he wanted more.

I didn’t give him a lot because I wasn’t sure how his tummy would handle it. Might make for some interesting diapers!

Landon Barcenas 2

“Holy smoke. There’s a fire over there!” (Sizzling Fajitas)

Landon Barcenas 3

When we all got back home we waited outside for the fire truck Santa to come by. Every year the Forest Bend Volunteer Fire Department escorts Santa around the subdivision for the kids. The fire trucks are decorated with Christmas lights and sounding their horns and sirens, and are a big hit with the kids. And a big hit with Landon, too. He was fascinated with all the lights and noise.

We had a great time, but after a long day, it was good to finally get home.

Thought for the Day:

The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!




December 17, 2012

A Great View . . .

After our morning walk, Jan and I sat out by the rig and just enjoyed the view, and the wildlife.

Sitting Out Front


We had a Great White Egret,

Great White Egret


a feeder full of Monk Parakeets,

Monks Parakeet


and a hungry pelican looking for breakfast.

Pelican on Bayou2


While we were walking around the park, a lady stopped and introduced herself as Lillis Palmer. She said our mutual friend Chris Yust had told her we were here and described our rig well enough that she was able to track us down.

Although she had just finished her walk she ended up joining us for the rest of ours. Then we got to meet her husband Dick as he was leaving the park on some errands. We ended up having a good talk about our RV lives and mutual friends. A very nice lady.

About 1:30 I headed out on some errands myself. My first stop was the new CVS where last night I had uploaded the Christmas cards to be printed, since the first one had printer problems. When I mentioned it, they gave me a 25% discount on the cards. Nice!

Then it was on to Fry’s Electronics to check out some new computers for a client. The first thing I noticed is that it’s getting harder to find anything with Windows 7 on it. But I did find a couple of possibilities that I’ll run by my client.

Then after a quick stop at the bank, I headed over the house to check the mail, and then it was back to the rig.

Finally it was off to McDonald’s for dinner, since I was craving a McRib, before they go away again.

Thought for the Day:

If pigs could fly I bet their wings would be really tasty.




December 17, 2013

Eats, Drinks, and Scenic Views . . .

About 1pm Jan and I headed out for our 2nd movie day. This time we were going to see Thor: The Dark World. Luckily I have a beautiful wife who likes movies like this just about as much as I do. I mean,two sci-fi movies in two days.

We decided to see the 3D version since, 1) the time worked better for us, and 2) the last few 3D movies we’ve seen have been very well done. Something is not jumping out of the screen every 10 seconds like in the past and you don’t spend the entire time dodging flaming arrows and spears.

Before the movie started, we had the usual trailers, including a couple that looked really good. The first one, an extra long one, was for the next Captain America film coming out this summer. Really looks good.

The second was a completely different genre. Starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, and Bill Murray, it tells the true story (well, as ‘true’ as any movie tells a true story. Check out “The Butler”) of a group of art experts during WWII who were sent to the front lines to rescue artwork stolen by the Nazis. Looks really good and is now on our “Must See” list.

After a really enjoyable movie, we headed across the parking lot for a first visit to Twin Peaks, a regional restaurant chain that’s growing fast.

Twin Peaks 1

Twin Peaks 2

Their motto is “Eats, Drinks, and Scenic Views”.

Here’s the Eats, a really great Poblano Chipotle Chicken Sandwich on a Brioche bun.

Twin Peaks 3


And the Drinks, really good Iced Tea.



And here’s one of the ‘Scenic Views”.  This is our waitress, Lauren.  And there’s brains behind the beauty. She’s in college studying to be an engineer.

Twin Peaks 4

And now you know why the place is called “Twin Peaks”. 

I mean, what’d you think they were going to call it, ‘Hooters’?

That would just be tacky.

As far as Lauren working here and studying to be an engineer, we found something like this before when I  was Webmaster for the School of Business at a local University. One night we went to Hooters and ran into two students working there that I knew. One of them was finishing up her Masters in Business and the other one was getting ready to take her CPA exam. So, not all of them are ‘Dumb Blondes”.

Twin Peaks, along with Hooters, Bone Daddy’s, and Bombshells, is one of a growing number of “Breastaurants”, as they’re known in the industry. We both really like Hooters, but weren’t really impressed with the food at Bone Daddy’s when we ate there earlier this year, but Twin Peaks is really good. Jan said her “Chicken Ranch Sandwich” is possibly the best chicken sandwich she’s ever eaten. We’ll definitely go back.

On the way home we were greeted by a beautiful full moon. Just gorgeous.

Full Moon 20131217


And wrapping up the blog, here’s the latest fashion accessory for the working man.

Plumber's Crack Camo


Thought for the Day:

“If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried…”




December 17, 2017

Foggy Hockey . . .

Jan and I were out the door about 12:15 this afternoon heading up to the Sugarland Ice Rink to watch Landon’s last hockey for this season.

‘Watch’ however is not really the operative word here since it was so foggy in the rink that it was hard to make out anyone.

Foggy Hockey 1

I guess due to the recent heavy rains the humidity in the rink area was sky-high making fog over the ice, and further obscuring the Plexiglas windows surrounding the rink.

Foggy Hockey 2

It also didn’t help things that the rink was in the low 50’s instead of the usual low 60’s. cold enough that you could see your breath. Plus there were some comments make about how cold the toilet seats were. Brrrrr!

But our next stop made up for everything, our usual after-hockey dinner at Floyd’s Cajun Seafood right down the road.

And a meal of Chicken Fried Chicken, Crab Bisque, Shrimp Gumbo, Boudin, and Fried Okra warmed us right up. We spent most of the time talking over our upcoming Christmas Eve and Christmas Day plans.

Looks like Brandi and Lowell will be hosting a total of about 15 people this holiday, including a number from out of town.

In addition it looks like we’re on for our long-time family tradition of having Christmas Eve dinner at King Food. In the last 25 years or so we’ve only missed it a couple of times. Our most memorable time was the Christmas Eve in 2004 when it started snowing while we were having dinner. By the time we headed home there was a couple of inches on the ground with parts of Brazoria County getting almost 13 inches of the white stuff.

Jan and I plan to have lunch there on Tuesday and let the owner know how many we’ll have coming.

The Headline of the Day:: Grieving daughter to sprinkle mother’s ashes — on Christmas dinner!

Thought for the Day:

I’d Kill For a Nobel Peace Prize!




December 17, 2018

40 Years Ago Today . . .

Forty years ago today, December 17, 2018, Jan, myself, our 10 year old son Chris, and our 5 year old daughter Brandi arrived in Houston, TX for the next big adventure in our lives.

For the previous two years I was the Chief Electronics Engineer over Alabama and Georgia for Storer Cable TV in Montgomery, AL, at the time one of the largest cable TV companies in the country. Later, in the mid 90’s, it was sold off and split up between Comcast and TCI.

Although I occasionally helped troubleshot problems out in the field, the ‘Electronics’ part of my title meant that I maintained all of the headend electronics equipment, but especially the satellite system.

At that time there was only one satellite downlinking TV channels for cable systems. RCA Satcom 1 only had 12 channels to start with, though it later went to dual polarization, with 24 channels.

Among the original 12 were HBO, TBS, WGN, MSG (Madison Square Gardens), ETWN (Eternal Word), PTL (Praise The Lord), and a few others that I’ve long forgotten. It was only after the second 12 channels were added that the whole satellite thing really took off.

At that time you didn’t receive satellite channels on some dinky little 18” DirecTV dish. No, it required a 10 meter (33 feet) antenna like one of these.

Scientific Atlanta 10m Dish

And at the time the entire installation was over $100,000.

In addition to the satellite receiver installation, there was also a microwave system that linked the satellite installation up in Prattville about 15 miles to the northwest, with the offices in Montgomery. It was enough to keep me entertained. But I always had another dream.

My father worked for Boeing on the Apollo program at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, and Jan’s father worked for Rocketdyne at Cape Kennedy. So when I was offered a job working on the Space Shuttle Program at Johnson Space Center in Houston, I jumped on it.

Although I accepted the job in October, I told them I didn’t want to start until the Christmas vacation time frame to make it easier for Chris and Brandi to switch schools.

One thing nice about the move was that they moved us. So while the movers were packing us up on Thursday and Friday, I was wrapping up things at Storer, with Friday the 15th of December being my last day. And later that afternoon we were on our way to Houston, with Jan and I driving our two cars, and my parents in theirs.

After spending the night along the way we finally got into Houston very early on Sunday morning, the 17th. It took a lot longer than it does now because large parts of I-10 were still under construction. But the reason for all the rush was the fact that I was supposed to start work at NASA  the next day, the 18th.

Luckily for us, my job with the DOD, moving around to different airbases in the late 60’s – early 70’s, gave us a lot of experience coming into a town and quickly finding a place to rent. And by later that afternoon Jan and my mother had found us a house in the old part of Heritage Park.

While we could have stayed in the hotel a couple of more days and taken our time, we had another reason to rush. The moving van with all our furniture was due the next day, and if they couldn’t deliver it as scheduled, then it would have to go into storage. And WE would have to pay the unloading, storage, and reloading fees.

So that’s how we all became Texans. As they say, “We weren’t born here, but we got here quick as we could.”

Tomorrow afternoon is my appointment with the ‘cornea guy’ to check out the slight yellowing/thickening of the cornea in my left eye, which is what the Sam’s Club optometrist mistook as a cataract.

So we’ll see what he comes up with.

Thought for the Day:

Nothing is sometimes the right thing to do, and always a wise thing to say.