Christmas Eve Eve . . .

We were on our way about 12:30 with our first stop for lunch at King Food up in Webster. Normally the whole family would be eating here on Christmas Eve, but we’ll all be up in Katy at Brandi’s tomorrow, so we had to get our KF fix in.

As I’ve mentioned here recently we’ve been eating here for over 45 years, and doing Christmas Eve dinners there for over 30 years.

So we couldn’t let Christmas pass without a visit, and we’ll probably try to all get together here in the next few weeks.

Next up was WalMart for some last-minute stuff, and it wasn’t as bad as you might expect for Christmas Eve Eve. It did help that they had 5, count’em 5, checkout lanes open instead of the normal 2.

Then after getting gas, and making a P.O. stop for the latest batch of Christmas Cards, it was back to the rig a little before 4.

Then post-nap, we started baking up the Cream Cheese Sausage Balls that Jan had prepared yesterday.

Normally we use the convection oven in our microwave, but this time we’re using our Ninja Foodi Flip Air Fryer

And it did a great job.

So we’ve got about 5 dozen for the get-together tomorrow. And they will go fast.

Tomorrow we’re heading out about 8:30 with a stop along the way at the Katy Trader Joe’s for a few things before we get to Brandi’s about 10am. Piper and Derek got there yesterday, and Chris and Linda are getting there tonight. So we’ll have the entire gang.

Can’t wait.

Thought For The Day:

Rereading Gibbon’s “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” scares the Hell out of me right now.

Bread And Circuses, anyone?

And it makes Barry McGuire’s 1965 “Eve Of Destruction” sound downright prophetic.

The Eastern world, it is explodin’
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’

You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’?
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’

But you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
How you don’t believe
We’re on the eve of destruction

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

December 23, 2010

Turkey and Blizzard . . .

When I die I want to come back as a cat.

Emma and Moose

Mister Asleep 2

About 3 pm Jan and I headed up to Brandi’s to pick up some mail and check on the house while they’re gone.

Then we drove down to Cracker Barrel so Jan could get a take-out Turkey Dinner. We’re going to be eating out for Christmas dinner, but Jan wants to have some leftovers for after. So we figured this was the best way to do it, since she loves Cracker Barrel’s Turkey & Dressing.

Then it was on to Radio Shack and Wal-Mart for some last-minute ‘stuff’.

Then it was time for ‘lupper’ at Sonic Drive-in with a Tex-Mex Foot Long Quarter Pound Coney. You can’t go wrong with chili, cheese, onions, jalapenos, Frito Corn Chips, and chipotle sauce.

Next it was a little further down the road to Dairy Queen for Jan’s favorite “Pumpkin Pie Blizzard.” It’s going away after Christmas so she wanted to have one at least once this year.

We finally got home a little after 6pm after a short but busy afternoon.

December 23, 2011

They Grow Big Chickens Here In Texas . . . .

Jan was up early this morning making her renowned Sausage Balls to hand out to friends and family. Then we had coffee and sat back and just enjoyed the view out the front of the coach.

About 1pm we headed out for an afternoon of errands and cookie visits. Our first two stops were actually here in the park before we headed up to Brandi’s. Along the way we detoured by the storeroom to pick up Landon’s Rocking Horse so we won’t have to do it tomorrow.

Landon's Horsey

We bought this for him several months ago when we were up in Elkhart, IN. It’s not just a plain rocking horse, because if you squeeze his ears, he makes galloping noises and then neighs and whinnies. Landon’ll love it.

Stopping at Brandi’s I picked up my new Garmin Nuvi 1490LMT GPS. Of course I had to unbox it and turn it on right there. I got to play with it while we drove around the rest of the afternoon, and so far, I’m impressed.

Leaving Brandi’s, we dropped off a plate of cookies at Bob & Beth Young’s before heading over to Lowe’s to return some Christmas lights and pick up a Surfoam plane.

After that it was several quick client visits to check on things and wish them a Merry Christmas.

On the way home we stopped at Kelly’s Country Kitchen in League City for supper. Jan wanted Turkey and Dressing a few days early, and also one of their giant biscuits to have for breakfast tomorrow morning.

But as it turns out, they don’t have Turkey and Dressing on Friday, and they only have the giant biscuits for breakfast. Bummer for Jan.

So Jan ended up with the largest Country Fried Chicken Breast I’ve ever seen. Jan ate all she could, and still had enough for 2 or 3 more meals. They grow’em big here in Texas.

Kelly's Chicken Breast

Getting home Jan started wrapping presents for tomorrow night’s get-together.

Our normal Christmas Eve family tradition is to have a family dinner at King Food and then go to someone’s house to open presents. This year we’re going to add going to church with Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at Crosspoint Community Church up in Katy, along with lunch with Brandi’s BFF Shawna and her family.

A busy day.

December 23, 2012

Sunflowers and Stew Kits . . .

Jan and I were up very early this morning, but it was for a good reason. We were meeting Lowell, Brandi, Landon, and Aunt Sherry at the Sunflower Bakery & Café for breakfast down in Galveston about 8:30am.

On our way, leaving the park area, we took down the signs we had posted after finding the lost dog last Thursday.

Found Dog Poster

Since we never got a call from anyone, we’re even more convinced he was dumped. But he’s got a good home now.

Just not our home.

We had our usual great breakfast at Sunflower, but what was funny was watching Landon flirt with a cute blonde hostess. He would stare at her with a big smile on his face, and then when she would smile back at him, he would quickly look away or put his head down below the table edge.

Landon at Sunflower Cafe 2

He would then peek back over the edge to see if she was still looking at him. And he did the same thing with the same hostess when we were here two weeks ago. He’s gonna be a real heartthrob.

Leaving the café we all drove down to the Seawall to let Landon run around on the beach.

Galveston Seawall

Landon at the Seawall 1

Landon at the Seawall 2

I think Brandi and Lowell’s real reason for this was to just let him run around and tire himself out.

Finally saying our goodbyes, we headed up to the Kroger’s on SR96 to get some groceries.

While perusing the meat department I came across a Beef Stew Kit.

Really. A Beef Stew Kit?

Some Assembly Required?

Is it a kit because you still have to cut up the veggies?

Tyson Beef Stew Kit

And it was $13.95!

For a couple of bucks of veggies, and 3# of stew meat. Sorry, but this is just ridiculous.

Are people really this lazy that they can’t spend 5 minutes in the produce section?

The bright note in our Kroger’s stop was getting gas there. Their new method of giving you gas points for your purchases meant that I got $1.30 per gallon off my fill-up.

Which meant that I only paid $1.67 per gallon.


December 23, 2013

Santa and Miss Claus . . .

First up, here’s Landon’s visit with Santa this year. Lowell said that he marched right up, sat down in Santa’s lap, and told him that he wanted a Hug Me Elmo and Stuffies (the stuffed animals with hidden pockets). This is one kid who knows where his presents come from and is not afraid of Santa.

Maybe it helps that his PaPa kinda looks like Santa.

Landon Christmas 2013

Our day started this morning with lunch at Jan’s new favorite place, Twin Peaks. She had her usual Chicken Ranch Sandwich, while I upgraded from a cup of the Venison Chili to a full bowl. I had the cup last time and it was really good.

Twin Peaks Venison Chili2

I decided to stay in the Appetizer part of the menu and also got an order of Average Joes. These are mini jalapeno-cheese brats slathered in spicy mustard and garnished with onions and fresh jalapenos. Very, very tasty.

Twin Peaks Average Joes

I’ll definitely have both again. But next time I’ll just have the cup of chili again. The bowl, along with the Average Joes, meant I was too full for the Bread Pudding dessert. And that’s just sad.

And of course, it wouldn’t be right to not have a picture of Miss Claus, our waitress Lauren.

Lauren Bell at Twin Peaks

We asked for Lauren again this time because she took such good care of us last time. We had to wait about 10 minutes for her to have an open table, but it was worth it. She even remembered what Jan ordered last time and how she wanted it fixed.

And she’s cute to boot.

This sign in Twin Peaks confuses a lot of people apparently. When they ask where the restrooms are, they’re pointed in this direction. But then they just stand there and look at the sign.

But then they finally sound it out, smile, and go in.

Twin Peaks 2P

But then they’re confused again.

Because one door says: Sit2P

and the other one says: Stand2P

There’s just no helping some people.

Leaving Twin Peaks we went right down the road to one of my favorite places, Fry’s Electronics. My purported reason was to look for a new laptop for a client, but somehow I only left the store with a new helicopter.

Invert X Helicopter

I just had to have this one because it will fly inverted as well as right-side up.

Santa came early this year.

December 23, 2014

Wiring and Re-Wiring . . .

Luckily the forecasted rain bypassed us this morning, so after coffee and a sampling of some of Jan’s freshly made sausage balls, I went next door to Randy’s so we could finish up his electrical repair and rewiring.

But first I wanted to see how his batteries were doing after being discharged down to about 6 volts. We turned off the shore power and checked the voltages, and everything looked pretty good. Then I turned on the inverter and then the TV and the refrigerator, and voltage only dropped about a 10th of a volt, and didn’t budge after another 10 minutes or so. So far, so good.

Next I had him start up the coach to see how his engine batteries were doing. The first thing I noticed was that he just put the key in, turned it on and started the engine. No waiting for the ‘Wait To Start” light to go out. In fact the ‘Wait To Start” light never went out, even after the engine was running.

Randy said that PPL (finally found out that’s where he bought the coach from) told him it didn’t work right, but it wasn’t important and not to worry about it. He said the engine runs just fine and he’s had no problems with it.

Suggested that he might want to wait 15 – 20 seconds before cranking up anyway and that he should have it checked at some point. I suspect that a sensor is not returning the correct code to the computer that shuts the light off.

Oh well. Just another problem.

Now it was on to the rewiring. Or maybe I should say the re-rewiring, since the problem seems to have been caused by the rewiring that the solar guy did.

The other day, in trying to get the power converter working, I moved the end of the short red wire shown in the orange box from one side of the isolator, indicated by the orange arrow, over to the output side of the power converter. That meant that the power converter was now feeding the house batteries as it should.

Randy's Rewiring 1

But I was bothered by the fact that the hole in the wire lug was not big enough to fit down over the stud of the power converter fuse block. I was able to jam it on there so that it was working, but it wouldn’t stay on when the coach was moved. Circuitwise the wire should go there, so why didn’t it fit?

Then the other night I was thinking about it and realized that maybe the solar guy had removed the wire completely, and then put it back on backwards And when I took the wire off today and reversed the ends, it fit perfectly. Yay!

Next, I disconnected the wire that the solar guy had used to connect the engine batteries and the house batteries together, and rerouted it up the isolator terminal where it needed to go. And it too fit perfectly.

So now I had the power converter feeding into the house batteries as it should, and the engine battery and house battery banks connected together through the isolator as it should.

The only real question is the isolator circuit. I physically tested the isolator and it works, but I don’t know If the signal that controls the isolator is working, i.e. is it switching over to keep the engine batteries charged when it’s supposed to. So I told Randy to keep an eye on his engine battery voltage to be sure it’s working.

Wrapping up,  the last thing that needed to be done was to move the output of the solar system from the engine batteries to the house batteries. That’s the smaller red wire with the black lump in it.

Randy's Monaco 1

The black lump is an inline splice, so all I needed to do was to remove the short wire from the splice and connect a longer one with a lug on the end to reach into the next compartment and connect to the house battery banks. I had the right wire to do it, but no lugs of the right size so I told Randy to go into Columbus and check out the AutoZone for some.

In the meantime it was time for Jan and I to walk across the circle to have dinner with Janice and Dave Evans. They had invited us over for a Grilled Chicken and Sausage Dinner, and boy, was it good. Especially the Roasted Veggies that went with it.

We always have a great time with Janice and Dave, and this time is no exception, but unfortunately this will be our only chance to get together for now. We’re headed to Conroe tomorrow, and they’re heading on to San Antonio in a few days. But I am sure we’ll connect back up soon. We always do.

Getting back to our rig a little after 6 I found that Randy had gotten the lugs so I went back over, crimped the new lug on the wire, connected it into the splice, and hooked it up to the house battery bank.

And after checking out all the voltages, the inverter, and everything else we could think of,  we declared it a job done. Whether it was ‘well’ done or not, will remain to be seen. I’ll keep you updated.

Tomorrow we’ll pull out of our site, get propane for the first time since September 18, 2011, then get diesel at Colorado County Oil for $2.58 a gallon (YAY!) and then make the two-hour run back over to the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails. And as soon as we’re parked and hooked up, we’ll head down to Clear Lake for our annual Christmas Eve Family Dinner at the King Food, something we’ve done every year for about 30 years.

Then it’s back up to Brandi’s to spend the night so we can be there with Landon on Christmas morning. And then of course Brandi’s big friends and family Christmas Party that afternoon.

No wonder everyone’s exhausted after the holidays.

December 23, 2015

Cooking for Christmas . . .

We walked again this morning, but for variety, we took a slightly different route this time. It was supposed to be about 1.05 miles, a little longer than yesterday’s 1.01 miles.

But for some reason Runkeeper said it was only 0.96 miles, not really a lot of difference, I guess.

Getting back to the rig, Jan and I sat outside in the shade with our coffee and cranberry nut bread. A little later, our neighbor in the Discovery behind us came out to walk her big Boxer, Joshua, a real sweetheart.

Tracy and her husband Greg (nice name!) are thinking about going full-time, so we talked for a while. Hopefully we’ll be able to talk more after Christmas.

Later in the afternoon, Jan got into baking mode, first getting her Cranberry Christmas Cake mixed and in the oven. Then she started in on her much-in-demand Sausage Balls. In fact so much in demand, she has to make six dozen so everyone gets some to take home.

You can check out both of these recipes, as well a number of others, here on Jan’s Favorite Recipes page.

About 6pm Wal-Mart said our prescriptions were ready, so I headed over that way. My first stop though was at Lowe’s to pick up the #14 x 2” screws that I will use to mount Jan’s “Oh Sh$t! Handle” that I talked about in yesterday’s blog. You can check it out here – Livingston Bound and BBQ.

Getting to Wal-Mart, I was surprised to find it wasn’t that busy, not really any more than a typical Saturday, it seemed to me. Certainly not like a Christmas Eve Eve.

Leaving Wal-Mart I made a dinner stop at the Culver’s right across the street to pick up burgers and fries for supper. Since Jan had already been cooking a lot today, supper was on me, and we both really love Culver’s Butterburgers.

After dinner, I decided to wait until after Christmas to drill the holes in the dowel rods and mount the handle. Instead I wanted to upgrade the two front 18” fluorescents by installing the LED strip lights that I’ve used before. I’ve done this several times by now, so I’ve got it down pat.

After removing the plastic cover, I removed the bulbs, and then the center ballast cover comes off by just squeezing it until it pops out of the tabs.

LED Strip Light Upgrade 0

Then I’m left with this.

LED Strip Light Upgrade 1

With a pair of wire cutters, I cut out all the wires except the black and white wires at the right end. Unfortunately they’re hard to see in this photo.

The black and white wires are the 12v supplying the power to the light. I don’t worry about removing the ballast since it’s not in the way.

LED Strip Light Upgrade 2

Next it’s simply a matter of connecting the red wires on the LED strips to the black wire in the fixture, and the black wires on the LED strips to the white wire in the fixture, using wire nuts. At this point, I always test the hookup. Looks good to me.

LED Strip Light Upgrade 3

The LEDs come with a peel-off adhesive stripe that I use to mount the strips in the fixture.

LED Strip Light Upgrade 4

Then I just reinstalled the metal cover over the center ballast, and snap the plastic cover on, and I’m done.

LED Strip Light Upgrade 5

It now takes me less than 10 minutes to do a light, and they’re brighter than the fluorescents they replace.

LED Strip Light Upgrade 6

And at less than $7.00 for a pair of strips, it costs less than just replacing the fluorescent tubes.

2ea Super Bright COB White LED Lights

Tomorrow Jan and I will head out about 10am, with our first stop for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel right down the Interstate, where we’ll also pick up the Cornbread Dressing and Turkey Gravy we ordered last week for our Christmas dinner tomorrow.

Then it’s off to our daughter Brandi’s down in Katy for our Christmas Eve get-together. Unfortunately, our other set of kids, Chris, his wife Linda, and our granddaughter Piper are all scheduled to work tomorrow evening, so they won’t make it tomorrow night, but we’ll all be together on Christmas Day for dinner.

December 23, 2016

You Know You’re A Regular When . . .

After a somewhat busy time on the gate last night/this morning, I was back at the rig and in bed by 5:45am.

This gate is the Sand Truck Staging Pad for the frac gate right across the street, so we had a lot of sand trucks in and out, but we don’t have to log them at all. We’re really just a traffic cop because this is a one-lane road, so we have to be sure another truck isn’t coming out before we let a new one in.

Franke Gate

I was back up about 11 and about 11:45 Jan and I headed out to Barth’s for their Chicken Fried Steak Strips/Fried Catfish lunch buffet.

I guess we’re officially ‘Regulars” at Barth’s since the waitress now brings us our drink orders without me telling her what we want.

And when we left they had our Christmas dinner takeout meals of Turkey & Dressing with Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Fresh Green Beans, Mac N Cheese, and Cranberry Sauce all ready for us.

Leaving Barth’s we made a swing by the bank to see if my checks had come in, but they’d closed at noon so it’s next week I guess.

This gate I’m on for the next 3 days is a 5pm gate, rather than a 5:30 one like yesterday’s, so I have to be on the road about 30 minutes earlier today. So when we got back to rig I went down for a couple of hours of nap.

When we came back from Beeville the other night we followed up on a tip Nancy Christian, our RV park owner, had given us about where to see Christmas lights in Kenedy.

And although there weren’t a lot of them, there were some really nice ones.

Christmas Lights i

Christmas Lights 2

But this house was the best. On a corner lot it rivaled anything in the ‘small’ house category that we’ve ever seen.

Christmas Lights 3

I say ‘small’ because Jan and I have seen some mansions in the Houston area that looked this good, but never on a home this size.

Here’s a close-up.

Christmas Lights 4

Everything is so ‘right’ that I’ve got to think that this one is professionally done, or done by someone who does this for a living.

As I said, this is a corner lot so here’s the other side.

Christmas Lights 5

I guess Kenedy doesn’t have a Christmas Lights Competition because this one should have a big Blue Ribbon on it.

There’s been talk about some gates closing for Christmas, but so far nothing about this one. So I guess we’ll see.

December 23, 2017

Catching Up . . .

Coming home from the TSO concert on Thursday night we had no more overheating problems, probably because it was a lot cooler and we weren’t sitting still in traffic.

But when we stopped at the Longhorn Steakhouse I could smell antifreeze over the hot engine, so I’ve got a leak somewhere that I’ll have to check out.

Dinner at Longhorn was great, the perfect end to a nice day that started off so rocky. We both started off with salads, Jan with her standard salad,

Longhorn Salad 3

while I got the Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese and Bacon. But while most wedge salads are made with a ‘wedge’ of iceberg lettuce, Longhorn’s is made from stalks of romaine lettuce.

Longhorn Wedge Salad

Really good and crunchy.

Jan always gets the New York Strip which Longhorn does perfectly for her, somewhere between Med-Well and Medium, pink with no juice.

Longhorn New York Strip Katy

I of course always get the Ribeye, Med-Rare, and again done perfectly.

Longhorn Ribeye Webster

Afterwards we spent about an hour just stilling and talking about the concert, before getting home a little before 10pm.

Now on to Friday.

Heading into work I had planned to get gas at the HEB but it looked pretty busy, so I decided to wait until I was on my way home, a plus since it was also on the right side.

Bad decision! Costly decision!

When I passed the station in the morning, gas was $1.93. but coming home it had jumped to $2.05, a 12¢ Christmas present to holiday travelers. Ho! Ho! Ho!

I spent most of the day at work going through the paper catalog page by page, making corrections, deleting products, and rearranging products. But with 130 pages it’s going to take a while.

Getting home about 4:30, Jan and I turned around pretty quickly and headed back out, over to Stomp’s Burger Joint on 146 in Bacliff to meet up with Wil and Cyndy Olsen. When they’re not waiting on their truck to be reassembled, they work with Adventure Caravan’s, guiding RV tours around the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Stomp's Wil and Cyndy

We had originally planned to also meet up with Jan and Dale Thompson there, but Jan hurt her back a couple of weeks ago, so this time it was just us four.

We started off with an order of Texas Rattlesnake Eggs. We had fun telling Cyndy that this was Texas so of course they had real rattlesnake in them.

Stomp's Rattlesnake Eggs

But they’re really a big ball of cream cheese mixed with bacon and jalapenos, and then battered and fried.

Wil and I both had the Hog Wild Burger, the one with raw bacon ground into the patty.

Stomp's Hog Wild Single Burger

I did drop back to the single patty version, with only 8oz. of Angus Beef,  instead of the 1# version with two patties that I’ve gotten before. I told Jan afterwards that this time I was just pleasantly full, rather than the painfully full as before.

Cyndy got the smaller Cheeseburger, while Jan got her usual Outlaw Burger with a little bit of everything.

Stomp's Outlaw Burger

Hopefully we’ll be able to get together with both Jan and Dale and Wil and Cyndy before they leave.

This morning, Saturday, was a nice quiet one before we headed out about 1:30. Our first stop was our son Chris to pick up our mail and a few other things. Then it was on to the nearby Kroger to get supplies for the Christmas dishes that Jan’s making for our Christmas Day family get-together. Tomorrow will be a busy day.

It seemed like almost everything in the store was discounted with our Kroger card because we bought $104 worth of groceries but only paid $87 because we saved $17 with the card. Nice

Finally heading back toward Santa Fe, we stopped off at Pho 20 for a light linner of salads and a couple of appetizers. Delicious as always.

I know I promised more about TSO, but I’ll catch up with that at a later time.

December 23, 2019

Day And Night . . .

Or rather DayQuil and NyQuil.

Today was pretty much lost to a routine of DayQuil at work and NyQuil here at home. I’m trying to get rid of my head congestion, feeling like my skull is packed with cotton. Very tightly packed.

It’s been years since I’ve taken this stuff, and it didn’t seem to be working as well as I remember. Then, looking at the label, I think I know why.

Prominently featured on the DayQuil and NyQuil bottles are the words, “Alcohol Free’!

And they think this is supposed to be a PLUS?


And I even bought the ‘SEVERE’ version.

But my biggest problem is that fact that my head is so stopped up that I’ve lost a lot of hearing in my right ear. And due to guns and loud rock music, my hearing isn’t too great in that ear to begin with.

So hopefully this stuff will help. Unfortunately though, it seems like I’ll have to get better completely sober.

December 23, 2020

Jan Has To Get Her Own Next Time . . .

Coming Up:

Landon at Sunflower Cafe 2

Today is a typical December day in Texas, with a high of 79° and a low tonight of 39. And then for the next few days we’ve got days in the 50’s and nights in the 30’s.

Nice for a change!

About 1:30 Jan and I headed out for the afternoon, with our first stop back at the New England Lobster and Chowder Food Truck located at the Three Acres Food Truck Park on FM1764.

Of course we wanted more of their fantastic Clam Chowder,

NE Lobster Clam Chowder

but we also wanted to try a Hot Lobster Roll.

NE Lobster Lobster Roll

(They also have it cold, but it’s better hot with the melted butter)

And I also got Jan an order of their Fried Mushrooms.

NE Lobster Fried Mushrooms

All really good.

But what turned out to be the actual highlight of the meal was something I really got just for me.

NE Lobster Deep Fried PB&J

A Deep Fried PB&J Sandwich.

I figured that Jan, not being a big PB&J fan, might want a bite just to try it.

Boy was I wrong.

Once she had one bite, that led to several more. So many more bites that next time she has to get her own.

I’m not sharing again.

The Clam Chowder was just as delicious as before. And the Fried Mushrooms were also ‘Have Again’ good.

The Hot Lobster Roll was also very good, but not $19 good. At least to us.

Even though we split it in half. Hey, it costs a lot to fly lobster in from Boston every day or so.

And this one was just as good as what we had in New England when we were up there in 2009. The thing is that neither of us are really big lobster fans. I’d much rather have a pound of boiled shrimp than a pound of lobster.

It may be just that I was raised in the South. Now up in New England in 2009 even the McDonald’s had a McLobster sandwich.

But we’ll certainly go back soon. Just not for lobster, I guess.

Finishing up with lunch we next made a WalMart for a few things, and we were surprised that it really didn’t seem much busier than usual. Nice, though.

Tomorrow I’m going to pick up a set of front disc brake pads for the Jeep. They’ve started scraping some, so hopefully I can do them on Saturday or Sunday.

Also tomorrow, of course, we’re meeting Brandi, et al at King Food for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Really looking forward to it.

December 23, 2021

Merry Christmas Eve Eve . . .

With Jan nursing an on/off migraine-ish headache since yesterday, today was a stay-at-home day with not a lot going on.

Tomorrow Jan will be making her world-famous Sausage Balls for our Christmas get-together this weekend. Much anticipated by everyone.

As I mentioned before, we’re meeting Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at King Food tomorrow evening for our mostly-every-year Christmas Eve family get-together. Then we’ll all head back up to Brandi’s in Katy to spend Christmas with them.

Can’t wait.

I got an email earlier this month concerning the renewal of our CLEAR membership. We signed up before our Christmas in NYC trip in December 2019. And it was really nice to bypass the long lines as we went through the TSA check-ins, but we’re not going to be flying again anytime soon, at least until we can fly without being vaccinated and/or masked up.

So I cancelled the renewal and saved $229. And I can reactivate at any time without having to do the biometric stuff all over again.

Before our recent trip up to Branson a few weeks ago we added a few accessories to our Jeep to make the drive nicer.

First up was a set of these Blindspot Mirrors. Unlike our Dodge Dakota truck, the Jeep has a blind spot in the rearview mirrors for me. No matter how I adjusted them, a vehicle passing on my left could completely disappear from my inside rearview mirror before it would reappear in my outside mirror. And these work great.

Rear View Mirror Extender

As you can see in the above photo I can see much further to the left with the stick-on mirror. You can put it either on the top or the bottom of the outside mirror.

A great addition!

I also added some new seat support cushions to my seat to give me better support for my back.

This cervical and lumbar support seat back really worked great and made the drive a lot more comfortable.

Jeep Seat Back Support Cushion

it’s easy to install and just held in place with straps.

I also added this padded seat cushion to complete the seat.

Jeep Seat Cushion

Very comfortable. So much so that after Jan drove the Jeep with them installed, she had me order a set for her side of the Jeep.

On To Christmas!

December 23, 2022

18° !

was our low last night, but we weathered it just fine. My heat lamp kept the water bay in the mid-30’s so no problem there. And we got up to a balmy 33° today.

Tonight’s a little warmer with a forecasted low of 24° and up to 42° tomorrow, but back down to 28° tomorrow night.

So it looks like we’re past the really bad part.

I was happy that our Old Faithful Dodge Dakota cranked right up this morning with no problem, even though it was 19°.

Good Girl!

While I was gone today Jan started making her world-famous Cream Cheese Sausage Balls, a must-have at every family get-together, particularly for our Christmas celebration on Sunday.

For my part I doing a Chicken Cheese Ball tomorrow morning for Sunday too. But I’m also going to add some dried cranberries to the mix for a little sweetness.

Then tomorrow evening we’re meeting up with the entire Texas Bunch, Chris, Linda, Piper, Derek, Brandi, Lowell, Landon, and Jan and I at King Food for our almost annual Christmas Eve dinner.

We’ve been doing this for longer than Jan and I can remember, but at least 35 years or more. Of course we’ve been eating at KF since December of 1978, right after we moved down here from Alabama when I went to work at NASA-JSC.

Good then, good now.

Then early Sunday morning we’ll head up to Brandi’s in Katy for our Big Family Christmas Blowout. Really looking forward to it.

I’ve got a nice long Christmas VaCay since Monday’s a holiday, so I don’t go back to the office until Wednesday.


Jan and I decided we wanted to see 2022 off with a nice dinner, so I made reservations at the Webster Saltgrass Steakhouse for New Year’s Eve.

Not sure yet where we’re going to get our Black-Eyed Pea, Collard Greens, and Cornbread on New Year’s Day.