Monthly Archives: January 2024

Who Knew?

Tomorrow we’re having lunch with long-time client/friend Tricia at Rustika Cafe & Bakery over in League City. I say ‘long-time client/friend’ because she’s another one who started out as a client back in the 90’s, and became a friend.

Looks to be a lot like our fav Sunflower Cafe and Bakery down in Galveston. Looking forward to it.

Afterward, Jan and I will make our weekly Wal-Mart stop a little earlier this week.

Following up on this blog’s restaurant theme.

Who knew that –

“One of the Best Restaurants in the World Is In Kemah. And Nobody Has Heard of It.

It’s called Eculent and our son-in-law Lowell told me about it.

“A chef with a flair for the avant-garde serves up three hours of sorcery”

Tom Sietsema , Washington Post

And it’s kind of pricey too.

Dinner – $239 per person

+ 20% Service Charge (not gratuity)

Dinner is composed of 25-35 courses depending upon season and availability of ingredients.

So for dinner, the 20% Service Charge, and Sales Tax, that comes to a little over $310 per person.

And that doesn’t include tip.

or Wine, either. That’s extra

Classic Wine Pairing – $59 per person

Old World Wine Pairing – $129 per person

And here’s a sample of the Eculent menu.

Out of the Forest

edible moss, escargot, truffle foam, enoki mushrooms

Walking Down the Isle

hydroponic greens, pistachio butter, edible flowers

Pig in a Cloud

pork belly, noodles, prickly pear shrub, edible cork

I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly glad that the moss, flowers, and cork are all edible.

But the dishes are unique looking.

And think that with these prices, nobody’s eating there?

Think again.

The reservations window opens at 11am on the first day of the month for the NEXT month. In other words, tomorrow, Feb. 1st, they start taking reservations for MARCH! And there’s a $25 non-refundable booking fee too.

And it seems that by 11:30 all the seatings are filled.

Of course, to be clear, they only have 20 seats, and are only open Thur – Sat, with 2 seatings per night.

Jan said we’re going to have to win the Powerball to eat here.

Thought For The Day:

“The rush to be wrong first is just too hard for some people to resist.”

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

January 31, 2011

So foggy even buzzards won’t fly . . .

9 Days and Counting . . .

We woke up this morning to such a solid blanket of fog that we could hardly see the bayou in front of us. We left the rig about 9:15, stopping by the park dumpster to drop off some garbage and do a little shopping while we were there. You remember Dumpster Shopping, don’t you?

Found this really nice painting that may end up in our granddaughter’s room,

Dumpster Painting

and this nice hanging plant that we decided to leave for another shopper.

Dumpster Plant

Heading down FM 517, we passed the vulture roosting area, only to find that the weather was so socked in that even they weren’t flying. They were just sitting around on buildings and signs in the area. Must be a real help to have vultures perched on the roof of your restaurant.

Vultures 1

Vultures 2

We got to the storeroom a little before 10, picked up the rental truck, got my mother’s washer and dryer loaded up, and were ready to roll. I couldn’t find a place to take them, so I just put them out on the street before the trash pickup today.

And according to our daughter, everything was gone this evening when they got home. Gone is gone.

We were running short on time to get the rent truck back, so we immediately headed down to League City, stopping off at the Raceway to top off the diesel tank, and getting the truck back with about 20 minutes to spare.

Next up was lunch at King Food for a big bowl of Hot and Sour Soup, certainly the weather for it. We’re really going to miss this place when we hit the road. Along with several others, as far as that goes.

Then we stopped off at a client’s to drop off about 4000 address labels for his next mail-out.

After that, we went by HEB to stock up on some of their coffees to take on our travels this year.

Next was Office Depot to pick up some ballpoint pens, and a large file box to hold some of my mother’s papers that we kept out of the storeroom.

About 2pm we met Chris and Linda at the storeroom to finish transferring the last of my mother’s stuff into our other storeroom.

Finally we were heading home with only two more stops.

The first was the Holiday World RV Sales to check on a part, that they didn’t have, and then Kroger’s for Lotto tickets and Starbuck’s Cinnamon Dolce Lattes from Starbucks.

A few minutes after we got home, Eldy and Jeannie showed up so I took over a bottle of Joint Juice for Jeannie to try as they travel west.

January 31, 2014

Floored . . .

Well, the floor project is officially underway.

Before Chris got here, I had cleaned everything out and unbolted the chairs from their pedestals. The flooring on the left side of the screen is a test piece I laid down to see how it would look.

Allure Flooring Install 1

The first thing we did was pull the chairs and put them outside, where Mister decided he was going to spend the day camped out in one of them.

We then started going over the floor inch by inch, pulling up any of the missed staples that originally held down the carpet, and pounding out any bumps.

Chris also did a really good job getting the rest of the carpet out from under the steering wheel and cleaning that area up.

Allure Flooring Install 2

At this point, I realized I must have had a brain fa . . . eh, fade. I sure seem to remember pulling up the pedestals last time to get the carpet out from under them. But it quickly became obvious that they didn’t come up. In fact I even called American Coach to be sure.

I had thought that the pedestals were held down by lag bolts into the plywood flooring.  But as it turned out, they’re held down by large bolts with nuts underneath the chassis, that can’t be easily reached. Oh, well.

Next I started patching the bolt hole depressions with Plastic Wood. These are the bolts that hold the plywood subflooring to the chassis.

Allure Flooring Install 3

Once we got all the prep work done, we knocked off for the day. We’ll start fresh tomorrow laying down the flooring and cutting around the obstacles with a jigsaw.

With a little luck we’ll be able to finish up then.

Stay tuned. More floor to come.

January 31, 2015

TruMoo and Brûlée too . . .

After our coffee and toasted English muffins this morning, and the promised rain still hadn’t materialized, I decided to try out my Karcher pressure washer that I finally unboxed and assembled last night.

But since I only had about an hour before we were going to head into Katy, I decided to just try it on the truck. So I added some of the wash/wax concentrate to the tank, topped it off with water and got to work.

It turned out to go pretty quickly, as I just had to wet the truck down one area at a time, Then I switched to the detergent setting and covered that area with the solution.

I found at that point I needed to use the scrub sponge included with the pressure washer to get the heavy dirt off and then it was just a matter of rinsing it off and letting it dry. I was surprised to see how clean and shiny the truck was after I was finished.

Later, checking the manual I discovered that they have a rotating brush attachment available for less than $20 from Amazon, so I’ll probably order one soon.

Karcher Rotating Brush

A little later, about 1:45 we all headed into Houston. Our first stop was in the Eldridge Parkway area so that we could check out the closest Home Depot, where I was looking for a couple of things. First was what I’ve always called Telephone splices.

Telephone Splices

And although they’re not called that on Amazon, they do come up when you search for ‘telephone splices’, so I guess someone else calls them that too.

They’re used to splice 2 or 3 wires small wires together, wires much smaller than the normal crimp splices can handle. They’re easy to use, just insert the wires into the ports and squeeze with a pair of pliers. The inside is filled with a gel that makes them waterproof too.

After finding the splices, I went looking for the 1/4” right-angle connecter for my air compressor, and found it after a few minutes. Well, actually I found the empty plastic bag hanging on the peg. And it was the only one they had. So there’s always another Home Depot.

When I got back out to the truck a few minutes later, Jan had noticed a Dunkin’ Donuts across the parking lot, so we made a stop for munchkins (donut holes) for Jan, and TruMoo for me. About 4:30 we just met at Little V’s Vietnamese Bistro for dinner.

Brandi and I both had the Shaking Beef Vermicelli, while Jan had her usual Grilled Chicken Vermicelli.

Lowell, however, tried something completely different with the Roasted Duck Vermicelli.

Landon and I sat together, and in between his bites of corndog and my Shaking Beef, we helped each other make it through the harder levels of Angry Birds – Star Wars on my Galaxy Tab. It’s amazing how good he is at this, showing me some tricks that I didn’t know, but lucky for me, his PaPa was able to show him a few things too.

We all finished off our meal with their Crème Brûlée spoons, just perfect to end a great meal.

Little V's Creme Brulee

And after a stopover at Brandi and Lowell’s for a while, we headed home.

Tomorrow looks to be a rainy stay-at-home day for all concerned. Nice.

January 31, 2016

RV Checklists . . .

Since I did absolutely nothing yesterday to prep for our travel today, Jan and I were up about 6:45am to get a start on things, especially since we planned to head out about 8 to have breakfast at the Conroe Cracker Barrel.

I normally start marking things off on my checklist the night before we travel. But because we spent the afternoon having fun (and dinner) with Janice and Dave Evans, and it was dark by the time we got home, I got nothing done.

But after 8 years of RV’ing, we’ve pretty much got it down to a science, so in about an hour, everything was done, except to crank up, unhook power, bring in the slide, and roll.

Getting to CB only a little after 8am means no wait, unlike showing up later in the morning or early afternoon. And since we’re not in any real hurry, we had a nice, leisurely breakfast, getting back to the rig about 9:30. And after wrapping things up, we pulled out of the site. with Jan following me in the truck down to the Activity Center where we hitched up and headed out.

When we came back from Cracker Barrel, the weather was sunny, but I noticed while I was hooking up the toad, that it was changing. Clouds were rolling in and the temperature was dropping. And we encountered the change out on the Interstate too.

The winds really kicked up with enough strength to make it an interesting drive, to say the least. This was not a very relaxing trip at all.

About 30 miles down I-45, we stopped at the Pilot/Flying J, to take on some diesel. Unlike the other one on our route, out in Brookshire, this one has 6 straight-in RV pumps, and an easy out when you’re done. And since I was using the Pilot RV Plus Card, I got my usual 8 cents a gallon discount off the cash price. But there was a problem.

The first pump I tried was running at about 30 seconds per gallon, meaning that 120 gallons would take me about an hour. After reporting the problem inside (probably a clogged filter at the pump), I switched over to the pump on the driver’s side, and finished the fill-up from there. This one was doing a gallon in less than 5 seconds.

Back on the road, we finished up our wind-blown trip and pulled into the Colorado River Thousand Trails about 1:30pm. And although we’re in a different site from the last time we were neighbors, we ended up right next door to our friends, Vance and Bonnie Clegg.

For dinner tonight we finished up the remainder of last week’s chili, putting it over rice with cheese and tortilla chips. Really good.

I mentioned earlier about using a checklist. In fact I’ve used a program, an Android app, called RV Checklist for years. A free app, it comes with a number of pre-done rv-related checklists, including an RV Departure checklist, an RV Arrival and Setup checklist, and a Camping Preparation list

The Departure one looks like this.

Departure Prep Checklist_thumb[2]

But you can also make your own personalized ones, which is what I did. And it looks like this.

My RV Checklist_thumb[2]

And when I check an item off, it turns green like this.

My RV Checklist 2_thumb[2]

Over the course of a number of travel days, I wrote down every step needed for Jan and me to get ready to roll, most of mine outside, and all of Jan’s inside. The list has saved my rear a couple of times, usually because I was interrupted in the middle of things when someone came over to talk.

We also have one labeled RV 2 Motel Checklist, that was honed in 2012 when we stayed in a motel while our rig was in the shop in Las Cruces, NM. Every time we found something we’d forgotten and had to go back to the rig, it got added to the list.

And over the years we added and deleted other stuff to make it work for us.

Finishing up, in yesterday’s blog I was talking about how the Potatoe Patch’s ‘Throw’d Rolls’ aren’t as big or thrown as far as Lambert’s. Well, as it turns out, one of our readers, Joan Scott, left a comment that might explain the reason behind that difference.

Joan said she used to be the Insurance Underwriter for Lambert’s and that they have seen a fair share of lawsuits from their ‘throwed rolls’. It’s really hard to believe that someone could be injured by a soft, fluffy yeast roll.

A few years back, I think it was the Sikeston, MO Lambert’s location, I saw a roll come arcing overhead, right through the hands of the father, and hit a young boy in a highchair right in the face with a soft ‘plop’. The kid who also had his hands up trying to catch it, just picked up the roll from his tray and started eating it.

I think some people just want to sue.

January 31, 2017

Counting The Days . . .

Today was Jan’s first day on a gate in a week or so. As it stands right now she’ll work today, Tuesday, and tomorrow, all on day shift.

But since I’m on night shift, that means that we’ve got to trade the truck back and forth. So when Jan came in this morning at 5:30am, I took the truck back home, until I came in at 5:30pm. Then Jan went home.

But what this all boils down to is that if Jan doesn’t work Thursday then she still has to come back to the gate and pick me up at 5:30am. Poor baby.

Tomorrow while I’m home during the day, I’m going to see if I’m stuck or not.

When we first got here a week and a half ago, I recounted how the owner of the first RV park we tried got mad because we left ruts in his grass sites. Well, the park where we ended up also has grass sites, and since the ground was wet after all the rain we’ve had, we’ve sunk in some.

So tomorrow I’m going to put some large mats down in front of the rear duals and see if I can pull forward onto them. If so I should be OK until we leave on the 15th, even if we get more rain. If not, I’ll have to rethink the whole thing.

Of course it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve parked somewhere and then found ourselves stuck due to heavy rains before we left.

Back in 2008 we were at the fairgrounds in Sioux Falls, SD, and while it was dry when we got there, it rained for the last four days flooding the RV area. After trying to get unstuck myself I finally had to call our roadside assistance service to get me out. They sent out a winch truck who was able to pull me forward about 30 feet until I was on the road. A real mess.

Two weeks from today is our last day on the gate. Then we’ll leave Cuero and make the 85 mile trip over to the Colorado River Thousand Trails in Columbus for two weeks so we can get our doctor stuff out of the way.

It’s going to be a busy time until we head west.

January 31, 2018

Back To Square One . . .

Things didn’t go too well today at work. We hadn’t heard anything from the direct mail company since I approved the artwork Monday afternoon, so I sent them an email asking what was happening.

And all I got back was an email requesting that I approve the artwork . . . again. But when I went to the approval page, it said the artwork had already been approved. WTH? So I sent off another email.

As it stands right now we don’t know what’s going on with them. Hopefully I’ll know something tomorrow.

I mentioned in Monday’s blog that I had set up the website to change over to the sale prices at 12:01am tomorrow morning, as well as the sales banner on the front page.

Well, when I came in this morning I found out that sometime this morning the new prices got posted on the site, and a couple of orders came it. No big problem, but it shouldn’t have happened.

But the sales banner didn’t change. And since it’s all tied together, it should have. So I turned the prices back off, and then I’ll check back after midnight to see if they came back on. If not, I’ll have to turn them on manually.

After I got home this afternoon we turned right back around and drove over to Victory Lakes to have dinner at Whataburger.

Once again we each got Double Meat Whataburger Jr’s as well as the Grilled Chicken Apple & Cranberry salads.

Whataburger Salad

And as before we had leftover salad to bring home. Great as always.

Tomorrow afternoon we’re meeting an old friend and past co-worker of Jan’s at the Texas Roadhouse in Pasadena. Really looking forward to it.

Our son Chris called this morning to tell me to bring the truck by so he can clean the oil pressure sensor connector for me. So we’ll do that on our way to Pasadena.

Jan was supposed to have her checkup tomorrow morning, but her doctor called this afternoon to move her appointment back to next Wednesday the 7th. Apparently a piece of equipment they needed had died and wouldn’t be repaired until Monday. So we’re back to square one on that.

January 31, 2019

The Forest . . .

Our friends Charles and Chris Yust are passing through Houston on the way from their RV lot in Yuma to their RV lot in Florida, and they’re staying at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails for a few days.

So we headed up there about 9am. It was our first trip back up there in over a  year, so it was interesting to see all the new things popping up, especially the new construction at the Lake Conroe park.

We got there a little after 10:30 and quickly found their site over in the ‘E’ ring, one of our favorite locations there too. We spent a couple of hours catching up before heading out to lunch at our local favorite El Bosque Mexican Restaurant.

Chris and Charles 2

We’ve eaten here a lot of times, and we’ve never had a bad meal. And today was no exception.

Jan got her fav, El Presidente, with Six Grilled Jumbo Gulf Shrimp and their Pollo a La Parrilla, with Avocado, Tomatoes, and Charro Beans.

El Bosque El Presidente

Chris and I both had the Beef Fajita Poblanos, with Bacon-Grilled Onions, Poblano Peppers, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, and topped with White Cheese.

El Bosque Fajita Poblanos 2

One of my all-time favorite Mexican dishes. And both Jan and I had plenty of leftovers to bring home.

Charles had the Cheese Enchiladas, but they looked kind of boring so I didn’t get a photo. But it must have been good since he cleaned his plate.

And as usual, we spent almost three hours at the restaurant, with a lot more talking. We were there so long that our waiter finally gave up coming by to see if we needed anything else, and went to have his own lunch.

We got back to their rig for a while longer before saying our goodbyes and got back on the road a little before 4pm, only to find we not only had the Houston going-home traffic to fight through downtown Houston, but also a steady drizzle that fogged over everything, not a pea soup fog, but more of cloudy chicken broth one.

But it slowed us down enough that our normal hour-and-a-half half trip took us over two and half hours.

But it was still a lot of fun, and well worth the trip.

It looks like it’s going to warm up next week so I’m hoping that I’ll have a chance to get under the rig and follow up on my oil leak problem. But I’m going to have to make a Harbor Freight run to pick up a couple of 12” – 1/2” extensions.

Filter Wrench

The Filter Wrench I have needs a 1/2” drive, and since the Fleetguard filter is almost 12” long and I’m even further down, I need a  longer reach to get the wrench up to the base of the filter.

Besides, Harbor Freight is always fun.

January 31, 2020

Sweet AND Spicy . . .

Since I worked yesterday, I was off today, a 3 day weekend. I went in yesterday because my client wasn’t going to be in at all and didn’t want to leave the office manager alone all day.

I spent this morning making the hotel reservations for our upcoming Alabama trip. Necessary because we’ll be driving the truck rather than our oil-leaking rig. In addition I also canceled our RV Park reservations for that trip.

Although back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, I used to drive straight through to Birmingham every month to visit my mother, we’ll take things a little slower this time and spend the night in Slidell LA along the way. Actually both ways, going and coming back.

Since we liked our stay at the La Quinta in Luling back last November, I found a good deal on one there. As I mentioned in the blog at the time, I found out that, although I thought I got a good rate through Expedia, I found that when I re-upped for more days, the in-house rate was $10 cheaper. And several readers told me that they often found the same thing.

So I checked online first and then called the La Quinta directly. But this time the Expedia rate was about $8 cheaper than the in-house one. And I did ask for the best rate.

And I found the same thing with our Extended Stay Hotel in Montgomery and our Day’s Inn in Athens. I didn’t yet make our coming home reservation since that date is not nailed down yet.

About 1:30 we headed up to Webster with our first stop at Snooze for lunch. We were interested to find that they had new menus, and a few new dishes. But the one that caught my eye was their Bacon But Different.

Snooze Bacon But Different

It’s an order of their Tender Belly Bacon that’s rubbed with brown sugar, cayenne, chili flakes and drizzled with black pepper maple syrup.

Sweet AND Spicy, and really delicious, and I’ll definitely have it again.

After our Snooze, I dropped Jan off to get her toesies done while I drove on over to the Ace Hardware in Friendswood. My computer chip key for our 2004 Dodge Dakota is showing its age. And its circuitry.

The rubber coating covering the parts on the key fob was beginning to wear off, exposing a corner of the circuit board. So I figured it was time for a new one.

I checked with both O’Reilly’s and AutoZone and they both said I had to go to the dealer. But when I checked with the local Dodge dealer I was quoted $245 for a new key.


But I remembered from a year or so ago that Ace Hardware advertised that they could duplicate computer keys, so off I went.

And once I got there I was testing my new key in about 15 minutes. And even better it was only $80. A nice savings.

And they said all Ace Hardware’s around the country should be able to do this.

Tomorrow night we’re heading up to Pearland for Tony Booth’s Birthday Bash, an annual Country Music Get-Together with a lot of old friends.

Tony Booth 2020 Birthday Bash

Really looking forward to it. And because it goes so late there’ll probably be little or no blog tomorrow night.

January 31, 2021

Where Did It Go?

Jan and I met up with my client and his wife at the Luby’s Cafeteria in Webster about 2:30, our first time at a Luby’s in years, and that was at the one over by NASA that’s now closed.

Our meal, especially the veggies, was pretty good, but probably not go-back-again good. Cheddar’s is better, and cheaper, actually. But we did have a really good time with Myron and Cindy, and hope to do it again soon, maybe on a regular basis.

Then it was on back down to the HEB in our area for a few things, and then home for the day.

January 31, 2022

Pizza, Pizza . . .

Didn’t sleep well last night and woke up with a bad headache this morning, so I played hooky from work, though I still processed a few orders online.

When we were up in Spring last week, getting together with Debi & Ed Hurlburt and Janice Evans, we got to talking about our favorite pizza places. Which got Jan and I thinking that we needed to make a pizza run really soon.

So tomorrow we’re going to our fav, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria at Baybrook Mall. We first ate at Grimaldi’s, the original (and only one at the time) in 2009 in New York City.

Well, Brooklyn to be more precise. In fact the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge passed right overhead.

Grimaldi's 1

And we all agreed it was the best pizza we’d ever eaten. So a few years later we were very happy to find that the one small NYC location had started spreading out across the country.

Grimaldi's Pizza 20201227

Really looking forward to tomorrow.

And on the subject of pizza, I came across this online article comparing frozen pizzas.

I Tested And Ranked The 7 “Most Popular” Frozen Pizzas, And I’ll Just Say It — There’s One Brand You Couldn’t Pay Me To Eat Again


And the two worse ones were kind of unexpected.

7. Whole Foods 365 — This was pretty much one of the most revolting pizza crusts I’ve ever tasted.

When I say “rubber crust,” I mean it. Tearing into a slice of Whole Foods’s “rising crust” pizza was like biting into an old tire.

6. Trader Joe’s — I genuinely think they meant well, but this pizza was drier than a literal desert.

Trader Joe’s may be a haven for many foods — frozen and fresh — but I can’t in good conscience recommend you buy this pizza.

But the two top ones may not be much of a surprise.

Of course there’s always Domino’s.

January 31, 2023

Too Many Noises . . .

Jan and I were on our way up to Brandi’s in Katy by 12:30pm, with our first stop at the El Pollo Loco for lunch first.

We both had the 3 Piece White Dinner with sides, mine with Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli,

El Pollo Loco 3 Piece White Dinner

and Jan’s with Pinto Beans and Broccoli.

We first ran across El Pollo Loco out in California in 2008, during our first year of RV’ing, before they started spreading eastward. And it became our favorite grilled chicken.

So we were very happy to find them showing up in our area, including two down in our Clear Lake area. But unfortunately they were very badly managed and neither one lasted very long. One of them is now a Chipotle and the other one is a specialty tea place.

Right now the nearest one is over in Pearland, about 20 miles away.

And along with our meals there, Jan also got one to go while she’s at Brandi’s.


You’ve probably seen the ads on TV for the Better Sleep app talking about Green Noise and Brown Noise helping you to sleep better. Now I knew about White Noise and Pink Noise for a couple of reasons.

Both of them are used in setting audio systems, which I did a lot of in my past life. And Jan and I have used this Radio Shack Sleep Machine since the late 80’s – early 90’s.

Radio Shack Sleep Master

And over the years, we’ve found it very useful while RV’ing when parked near highways and railroad tracks.

But I had never heard of Green Noise and Brown Noise, which apparently is also called Red Noise. And it seems Brown(Red) and Green aren’t the only new ones.

There’s also Blue, Violet, and Grey. Now I just think they’re just making it up.

But I did get the Alexa App called Sleep Sounds that will let Jan and I check out the Brown(Red) and Green to see if they mask out outside noises better than White noise. And I’ll have to see if it has the other three.

Finishing up, Brandi sent over this photo of the view from her hotel room in San Diego.

Brandi San Diego 20230131

Doesn’t look much like a business meeting to me.







Stendhal Syndrome . . .

Since the weather was nice for a change today, I went out about 12:30 to replace my wonky RV Water Pump.

It was actually pretty easy, just two wire nuts and the in and out pipes.

The wire between the two connectors covered in black tape is the ‘hot wire’ I hooked up to get my old pump working temporarily during the recent freeze.

And here is the new pump installed.

Doesn’t look a lot different, does it?

Interestingly, the pump is actually installed upside down. It has to be because that’s the only way the IN/OUT pipes will connect up correctly. And the pump is not really fastened down. It just lies on the pipes underneath it, held in place by the IN/OUT pipes.

One thing new is that I read in the instructions to not use Teflon tape on the water connections. Which is strange since the original water pump came with the tape on it to start with.

Stendhal Syndrome

Jan and I knew the feeling, we just didn’t know there was a name for it.

It’s an actual Syndrome with symptoms that may include dizziness, elevated heart rate, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, fainting, confusion, and even hallucinations after exposure to impressively beautiful art or architecture as a tourist.

First observed amid the many ‘embarrassment of artistic riches’ in Florence, Italy,

We first commented on this when we were traveling through Canada on our way to Alaska in 2008. Every turn brought an even more amazing view, that happened over and over, until it was actually tiring in a way.

You began to look forward to a junkyard, a strip mine, or even an ugly billboard. Anything to break up the monotony of endless overwhelming beauty.

Thought For The Day:

I really do try to see the best in people. But seriously, some of you are making it really, really hard.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

January 30, 2011

Croissants and Armadillo Eggs . . .

10 Days and Counting . . .

Hot coffee and warm, flakey croissants started off this morning.

The croissants were from the gift we got from Brandi and Lowell at Christmas, a box of Williams-Sonoma Croissants.

These croissants are fantastic, so good, in fact, that they’re on the list of Oprah’s Favorites.


They come out looking like this, but they start as little frozen logs. There were two types in our box, plain and chocolate-filled. And both are delicious.

They’re shipped overnight, frozen in a Styrofoam container. You let them thaw out and rise for 9 hours and then pop them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or 13 minutes in our convection oven. They come out crispy, flakey, and fantastic.

After finally getting moving, we left the rig about noon heading back to the storeroom we’re trying to empty out.


We spent the afternoon going through the last of my mother’s boxes of papers and photos, bringing back a lot of memories at the same time. As we sorted through things, we placed the stuff we wanted to save in plastic tubs for storage.

Between the consignment shop and Goodwill, we got rid of the last of the furniture yesterday. Then tomorrow we’ll take the washer and dryer to a used appliance store to get rid of them, and we’ll be finished, except for putting the plastic storage tubs in our other storeroom.

Finishing up about 3:30 pm we headed back to the rig, stopping off at Wal-Mart for supplies.

We got home a little before 5, just in time to get ready to go out for dinner with Eldy Tompkins and Jeannie Sparks. They’re parked two spaces down from us, and ended up here at Galveston Bay RV Park after reading about the park on our blog. We first met them last September when they were vendors at a rally in Elkhart, IN, where they were selling the line of Tastefully Simple products. We bought several of the dip mixes, and really liked them.

We had decided on T-Bone Tom’s, a local steakhouse restaurant that has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. We ate there several times years ago and never really cared for their BBQ. But after watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, we found out they’re really known for their steaks, homemade sausage, and their Armadillo Eggs.

Armadillo EggsArmadillo Eggs are about the size of a tennis ball, and are made by hollowing out a jalapeno, stuffing it full of sliced BBQ brisket, rolling it in two kinds of flour, and then breading it in panko crumbs. They are then deep-fried to order, and they are delicious!

For our entrée, we all had steaks. I had the rib-eye, Jan had the sirloin, Eldy had the T-Bone, and I’m not sure what Jeannie had. But we all thought they were great. Then even though we were all stuffed, we couldn’t resist their desserts. Jeannie and Eldy split the Strawberry Daiquiri Cheesecake, and Jan and I split the Homemade Bread Pudding. But by the time the dessert came, Jan decided she was just too full, so I had some and then we brought the rest home.

We had a great time talking and getting to know each other. We sat there talking for about two hours, and hope to be able to do it again before we leave. If not, we’ll be seeing them at the rally in Yuma, AZ starting the 7th of March.

On another note, we’ve got some really cold temperatures coming in the next several days. Just more Texas weather.

Tonight and tomorrow night the temperature is in the high 50’s / low 60’s. Then Tuesday night the low is supposed to be 27 degrees. And the next 3 nights are supposed to be in the high 20’s too.

January 30, 2012

Hats and Hooter’s . . .

The Latest Landon Pics!

Handsome Landon 2

He’s really proud of his new hat.

Handsome Landon 1

This morning started early. Instead of just getting up about 10, I was up, coffeed, and out the door by then.

I had spent the weekend cleaning up a mailing list and printing out thousands of labels so my client could get them on the flyers and out the door by this coming Wednesday

I also wanted to get back on updating and moving his UPS shipping program to a new computer.

But this was not to be. Exporting the database out to a file was no problem, but when I went to install the new 2012 version of the UPS Shipping program, I found out the 450 MB file I had spent an hour downloading a week ago, was glitched and would not execute. Bummer!

Don’t know what the problem was, because it seemed to download OK.

I think I’ll go over to another client’s office tomorrow and re-download it there. They’ve got a 6 Mbps line while this client only has a 1.5 Mbps one.

I’ve also got a new computer to install in the graphics department where they do the paper catalogs. But I have to wait for the lady to pull everything she wants to keep off the old one.

During this time I was also on the phone with RV Mobile Lube setting up an appointment for a tech to come out next Wednesday and service our rig. They were last here two years ago, and it’s about that time again.

They handle rigs in the Houston, Dallas, and Texas Hill Country area, and come to your site in a big step van and change your engine oil, transmission oil, and all filters, and hit any chassis lube points. And they do the same for your Onan generator.

I had them use the Transynd synthetic transmission fluid last time and will do it again. Although it adds about $170 to the cost, after it’s done twice, it reinstates some of Allison’s warranty coverage, and I won’t have to have it serviced again for 75,000 miles, about 8 years for us.

Another nice thing is that they keep your service records online so you can keep track of your service intervals. (You can click this shot to enlarge it.)

Click to Enlarge

They should be here about 8 am, and based on last time, it takes a couple of hours.

I got back to the rig about 5pm, and then Jan and I headed up to Seabrook to have dinner at the Hooter’s there. It was time for our hot wing fix and this is the place for it.

But, on a more disturbing note, I’m afraid Hooter’s may be going upscale. They now have a podium just inside the entrance, and one of the young ladies seats you at your table and gives you the menus. What are things coming to?

I don’t know about you, but upscale service is NOT what I come to Hooter’s for!

Get your mind out of the gutter. It’s the wings, of course.

January 30, 2013

Cartoons and Artwork . . .

We didn’t do much today. Just hunkered down and hoped we wouldn’t blow away.

Due to the cold front coming through, yesterday’s high was 74, today’s was 58, we had high winds most of the day. At one point, the Weather Channel said the wind was blowing at 25 mph, with gusts to 40. Talk about Rock N Roll. And it’s supposed to go down to the mid-30’s tonight.

Our friend Gina posted this cartoon on Facebook that tells the story about Weather in Texas.

Weather in Texas

Worked on a few projects, mostly today. Printed out 1200 address labels for a client, and decided that I want to redo the tie-downs for the strings at the bottom of the Day/Night Shades. This is because this is where at least two of my shade’s strings were broken. It looks like that over time the strings are rubbed in two.

But the good news is that it looks like I may not have to completely restring the last two shades because the strings just broke at the tie-downs. I’ll fool with it tomorrow.

The new Denso 26” wiper blades I ordered Monday from Amazon came in at Brandi’s today, so I’ll pick them up tomorrow and get them installed. I’ll probably use Rain-X wipers on the toad again. Those, along with using Rain-X Wiper Fluid, seem to do a good job of keeping the windshield clean and non-squeaky.

My very talented great-niece Stahlie posted some of her recent artwork today.

Stahlie's Art

Although it looks like it might be done in oils, it’s actually done on the computer using Autodesk Sketchbook.

A commenter asked if it was done in watercolors. Stahlie said “No, she doesn’t do watercolors because they don’t have an “Undo” button.”

I like the way she thinks.

For dinner we finished off the homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup from a couple of days ago. Still very good.

Tomorrow night we’re getting together with Lillis and Dick Palmer again for dinner at King Food.

Then on Friday night, it’s probably our last visit to the Alvin Opry.

Busy, busy, busy!

January 30, 2014

Getting in on the ground floor . . .

Jan and I spent the morning going through stuff so we could get everything out of the front of the rig so Chris and I can start putting down the new flooring tomorrow morning. And as many readers have requested, I will be posting before, during, and after photos.

About 3 PM Jan and I headed out for our daughter Brandi’s up in Katy. Jan will be staying there for several days while our son Chris and I do the floor. On our way we stopped off at Sam’s Club to pick up a couple of prescriptions.

I was kind of worried about the traffic on the way, but it seemed we were able to stay just ahead of it all the way there. And we timed it perfectly, getting there just a minute before Lowell and Landon showed up.

Brandi showed up about 30 minutes later bearing dinner from a local Mexican grilled marinated chicken place. We’ve had this once before, and it’s really good, especially the spicy tomatillo sauce. Very good.

Landon has his own iPad and spends a lot of time learning and playing on it.

Landon and his iPad

I said my goodbyes a little before 7 finally getting back to the rig a little after 8 PM. I spend the rest of the evening getting things ready for tomorrow.

More from the floor tomorrow.

January 30, 2015

Under Pressure . . .

Jan set out some croissants last night to thaw and rise for this morning. So about 11 had warm Williams-Sonoma Chocolate Croissants and hot coffee, and spent the next couple of hours catching up on things, along with a lot of laughing.

Later in the afternoon, I finally unboxed and assembled my new Karcher Pressure Washer that I bought myself right before Christmas.

Karcher Pressure Washer2

I really like the one Charles Yust has, and decided that I needed one too. Wal-Mart had this one on sale right before Christmas for $89.95, marked down from $129.95, a real deal.

It has a tank that can hold detergent or car wax, so I might try it with vinegar to get more of the drilling mud off the rig roof. I also want to see how it will work on my the rig’s wheels. So depending on what the weather does tomorrow morning, I may give it a try on the rig or toad. It’s supposed to rain some tomorrow, so we’ll see how it goes.

About 4:15 we all headed down to Peter’s BBQ to check out their Friday Night BBQ Buffet. Although our friends had eaten there before, this was their first time for the buffet. As usual it was delicious. I mean, how can all the BBQ, sides, and desserts you can eat, be anything but?

There were also a number of other RV’ers there that we chatted with for a few minutes. We had invited our friend Randy to go with us, but he was already getting together with his family.

Tomorrow we’re going into the Houston area to stop off at Brandi’s before we all have dinner at Little V’s Vietnamese Bistro.

January 30, 2016

Do I Smell Brownies?

Although Jan was back to normal this morning, we decided no to walk today, and just start fresh Monday morning over at the Colorado River Thousand Trails in Columbus. And since we leave for Columbus tomorrow morning, Sunday’s out too.

In addition, we were also going over to Janice and Dave Evans about 1pm. Janice wanted me to take a look at some computer problems she was having. Things like, strange popups and messages, changing homepages, and slow-downs.

I started out by running the free version of SuperAntiSpyware which found a number of browser add-ons that were probably causing the ‘Search’ popups and other stuff. Then as a double-check, I also ran the free Malwarebytes AntiMalware to catch anything that the first one missed.

Then it was on to CCleaner and Glary Utilities to clean out the ‘gunk’ in the registry and other areas to speed things up. When that was all wrapped up, we all piled into Janice and Dave’s SUV and headed down to the Potatoe Patch restaurant in the FM-1960 area for linner.

Based on what we heard, and what we read on the Net, it’s kind of a Lambert’s Throwed Rolls clone.

Potatoe Patch 0aa_thumb[1]

And it is, to a point. At least it’s kind of a mini, scaled-down version.

Rather than the four ‘endless’ pass-around’s at Lambert’s – onion fried potatoes, fried okra, macaroni & tomatoes, and black-eyed peas, here you get a single large serving of fried okra and fried green tomatoes.

Potatoe Patch 5_thumb[1]

But these are both very, very good, especially the fried green tomatoes. Unlike any we’ve had before, these are very thinly sliced and almost crispy fried like potato chips, but not too crunchy. Really just perfect.

My Jan had the Chicken Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Mac N Cheese,

Potatoe Patch 2_thumb[1]

while I had the Chicken Fried Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Corn on the Cob.

Potatoe Patch 6_thumb[1]

Dave’s Jan had the same Chicken Fried Chicken, but with Sweet Potatoes and Cole Slaw, while Dave went with the Beef Liver and Onions with Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Spinach.

They did have ‘throwed rolls’, but following the scaled-down Lambert’s theme, they’re a little smaller, and they don’t throw them near as far.

Unlike Lambert’s large softball-sized ones, PP’s are about the size of a hardball. But they’re both soft and puffy yeast rolls, and taste pretty much the same, and that’s very good.

But they do kind of wimp out on the whole ‘roll throwing’ thing.

Rather than an overhand throw of 50 feet from one end of the dining room to the other like I’ve seen at Lambert’s, here it’s more of an underhand toss from 10 – 15 feet away.

But I guess if you call yourself the ‘Home of the throw’d rolls’ as PP does, you’ve gotta get’em at least a little airborne to use the phrase.

One thing that might be influencing the whole underhand, overhand thing is the fact that the ceilings at Lambert’s are more than twice as high as the ones at PP’s, so it’s hard to get a good high arc on the long-distance ones here.

I did try to get the roll guy to throw me one from about 30 feet away, but he wimped out and walked a lot closer before he would toss me one.

But all in all, it was very good food, and we’ll definitely go back, hopefully soon.

Friend and blog reader Jim Hamm sent over this article about medical marijuana being a big help in treating migraines, in some cases dropping the frequency from more than 10 per month to less than 5 a month.

Do I smell brownies in my future?

Tomorrow we’ll head for Columbus and the Colorado River TT about 10am for the next two weeks. And as has been our routine lately, we’ll have breakfast at the Cracker Barrel in Conroe before we leave here. We’ll be ready to roll before we go eat, and only have to bring in the slide, unhook shore power, and then crank up and go when we get back.

January 30, 2017

The Vicissitudes . . .

Of Texas weather.

Two nights ago it got down to 31 degrees here at the gate. There was enough moisture in the air that the shack railings were covered in a thin layer of ice. And when I went to leave for home about 5:15am I found a heavy layer of hard ice on the truck windshield. Heavy enough that I actually had to scrape it off with an ice scraper.

And why do I have an ice scraper? Well, our late friend Gina Ellis gave me one years ago. After being a paramedic, an EMT, and a police sergeant, she ended up as a Fraud Investigator for American National Insurance, headquartered in Galveston, TX.

Now why an insurance company in Galveston would be giving out logo-branded ice scrapers, I don’t know. But it’s certainly come in handy over the years.

But never in south Texas before.

Then yesterday and today it hit 80 degrees.

For lunch today we had our leftovers from our visit to Maya Mexican Restaurant a few days ago. Jan had the Chicken Poblano and I had the Verde Chicken Enchiladas. Still delicious.

Then for dessert we sampled some of Jan’s latest batch of chili. She did it a little differently this time so we were both anxious to try some.

Normally she’ll get 5 pounds of ground beef and cook it up with some onions in the electric skillet outside on the picnic table so it doesn’t smell up and grease up the rig. Then we vacuum-seal it and freeze it until it’s needed.

But this time we got a pound of extra-lean ground beef (only 7% fat) and put it straight in the crockpot with some fresh chopped onions. After letting it cook and brown some, she then added her regular chili ingredients. And it turned out to be a really great batch, very hot and spicy.

Jan brought me into work this afternoon, so she can come back in tomorrow morning to work the day shift here at the gate. Then I’ll go home and come back at 5:30 to let her go home. Then we’ll do the same thing on Wednesday.

Karma was really enjoying the warm sun this afternoon. She spent most of the time sound asleep in the living room window.

Karma in the Window

Catnapping, I guess.

January 30, 2018

Big Winner . . .

First thing this morning I went outside to take a look at a truck problem For the last few weeks, my oil pressure gauge has been going wacky.

At least I assume it’s the gauge/oil pressure sender unit since I can drive for long distances with the gauge setting on zero. So unless I have a ‘magic’ engine that can run for hours with no oil pressure, then it’s either the sensor or the wiring.

I’m eliminating the gauge itself since when it drops to zero, I also get a CHECK GAGE light, which means the light is also getting bad info.

But today I was trying to check the easiest possible problem – a dirty/intermittent wiring harness connector. The sensor/connector is located on the lower driver’s side of the engine right about the oil filter. I don’t have any ramps or jacks, but I was hoping I could get under the truck to unplug the connector and spray it with Strike-Hold.

But I couldn’t get far enough underneath to reach the plug. In the past, I’ve driven the truck up on a curb to raise one side enough to get underneath. But no curbs here at the park. I’ll have to check with our son Chris to see if I can run by and have him take a shot at it. Plus he has jacks and ramps.

If have to replace the sensor it gets a little more complicated. Since the sensor is sticking into the oil itself, you’ve got to be REALLY fast removing the old one and replacing it with the new one.

Otherwise you need to drain the oil first. So it would be nice to have cleaning the connector fix the problem.

After calling to be sure she was working today, about 12:30 we headed up to Pasadena to see our friend Julie and have lunch at the Monterey’s Little Mexico where she works.

We’ve known Julie for years, when she worked at the Monterey’s down here in Dickinson. But that location was taken out by Hurricane Harvey, and won’t reopen until sometime in March. Hopefully.

Right before we got on I-45 we made a stop at the HEB to get gas. I’m not sure what’s going on in the oil market, but gas had jumped another 10 cents a gallon since yesterday.

And to think it was just $1.93 right before Christmas.

Of course I never go to Monterey’s that I don’t get their fantastic Chicken Tortilla Soup, and so I did this time. Jan however went a little different, getting their Chicken Ixtapa, a grilled chicken breast with sautéed veggies and charro beans.

Saying our goodbyes and coming back home we made a stop at the HEB again, this time for a few things, and to check my lottery ticket. But as I looked around I didn’t see the Lotto machine. Turns out that HEB is out of the lottery business, and has removed the machines.

So where was I supposed to cash in my Big Winner $2 ticket?

January 30, 2019

This All You Get Tonight . . .

Pretty much all my workday was consumed with trying to get the website configured for our upcoming February sale.

Hopefully the ad banners and all the sale item’s prices will magically change over on the website at midnight on 1 February and then go away at midnight on 1 March.  I hope.

For some reason every time I try to post this blog, it gets truncated to only about 10 lines. So this is all you get tonight, I guess.

January 30, 2020

If Goofy Is A Dog, What Is Pluto?

I’m sure most of you heard about the big explosion at the factory here in Houston last Friday morning. Occurring at about 4:15am, it unfortunately killed two employees who had come in early to use the exercise facilities. It was very lucky that the blast didn’t happen a couple of hours later, because then the entire workforce would have been on site.

Houston Factory Explosion

The strength of the blast totaled almost 50 homes, and damaged almost 300 more, with debris found over a mile away. And the sound of the explosion was heard much further away.

Our daughter Brandi was awake at the time and heard the blast. And she lives almost 15 miles from the site. She said all the dogs even started barking at the same time too.

But wait, there’s more.

Brandi works as an Inside Broker for CRC Insurance, the largest commercial insurance and reinsurance company in the country. And as it turns out, her company is the brokerage for both Watson Grinding and Manufacturing and Watson Valve Services. The two companies are (or were) located side by side, and are under the same corporation, but are actually separate companies with separate insurance policies.

At this time authorities are still not sure which company’s building caused the blast.

And on another strange coincidence, Brandi’s husband Lowell, who is a Shipping Booker for AAACooper Transportation, said that both these two companies are customers and he calls on them regularly.

I mentioned the other day about a free streaming service called Pluto TV. There are native apps for it both on our Samsung TV and my new Amazon Firestick 4K unit, or you can just go to on your computer.

One thing I noticed on Pluto TV is how sharp the old programs are. We were watching one of the classic TV channels that was showing Dennis The Menace. It was crystal-clear sharp, like it had been filmed yesterday, but in B&W.

And the other thing was that it was still funny. Probably a lot funnier than today’s shows will be in 60 years.

Finally, another good source for streaming cable channels is USGOTV. Pretty much everything is available on here, from A&E to WeTV. And more.

Check it out.

January 30, 2021

Squirting The Cat . . .

This afternoon Jan and I decided to check out the latest Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch place here in our area – Eggcellence.

The one we went to is across from Baybrook Mall and has been there for a while. But there’s another one coming in right down the Interstate in the old Steak and Shake location. And when I asked if this one was going to close when the other one opened, they said No.

The main reason we came today is because Jan saw they had a Greek Omelet, one of Jan’s favorites. And she said it was delicious.

Eggcellence Greek Omelet

Jan said we’re coming back just for this alone.

I had the Texas Sampler with two eggs, bacon, ham, and sausage, with fruit instead of hash browns. Also really, really good.

Eggcellence Texas Sampler

And we both had a large glass of their Squeezed To Order Orange Juice. Really good, and really expensive, at $6 a glass. So probably a one-time thing.

We decided that Eggcellence will replace the Toasted Yolk Café in our dining repertoire. We’ve tried the Yolk a couple of times without being especially impressed.

Long live the new King.

After our meal we headed over to the nearby UPS store to drop off our DirecTV DVR to be returned. And it went just as they said.

I gave them the unit, my DTV account number, and my last name, they printed me out a receipt, and I was done.


Looks like we’re getting an Amazon Delivery Station right down the Interstate from us. Delivery stations are different from warehouses, in that orders are sent from the big warehouses to local stations where they’re then put on the delivery vans for the ‘last mile’ delivery as they call it.

One thing this means is that we should be able to get more ‘order by 9am’, same day deliveries. Neat!

Miss Karma is just about back to normal but she’s still not very happy about the ‘whole syringe squirting antibiotic in her mouth’ thing. I told her it’s for her own good, but I don’t think she’s buying it.

January 30, 2022

A New Game In Town . . .

Today was an easy one, with lunch at Pho Barr up in Webster and then a quick HEB stop on the way home.

We did find out that their new location down in our area is supposed to open ‘next month’. What we didn’t find out is if ‘next month’ was 2 days from now, in February. Or if they were actually talking about March.

I guess we’ll see.

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog about our Kroger’s Prescription Plan which has saved us a lot of money over our previous plans with WalMart/Sam’s. It costs us $72 per year, and covers Jan, myself, and Karma the Cat. Besides human prescriptions, we can also get discounts on vet drugs too.

Though Kroger’s works through GoodRX, the discounts are much better than you can get through the free Standard GoodRX app, or even their $20 per month Gold family plan. And as I said, Kroger’s version is only $6 per month, or $72 a year.

But now there’s a new game in town in the drug business. Cost Plus Drugs, a new online drug supplier, started by Mark Cuban of Shark Tank/Dallas Mavericks fame, promises to shake up the prescription drug market. And this includes possibly building their own factories to keep the costs down.

I did compare a couple of their prices against our Kroger’s prices, and Kroger’s came out a little ahead. The Metformin that Jan takes is $5.90 on Cost Plus, but free under Kroger’s plan. And my high blood pressure meds are $7.50 under Cost Plus, and $6 from Kroger’s.

I’ll keep checking back and let you know.

January 30, 2023

He’s Gone Electric . . .

I was on my way up to the Webster area by 10:30 this morning for my 11:20 appointment with my dermatologist, Dr. Joe. As it turns out, Dr. Joe, is his ‘official’ nickname, because his real one is Dr. Narin Apisarnthanarax.

Hence, Dr. Joe.

And after liquid nitrogen freezing a number of spots on my head, he said that he thought I should have the dreaded Photo Dynamic Therapy again, and reminded me it had been 5 years since my last treatment.

So 3 weeks from today, I’ll have my head grilled to Extra Crispy once again.


Before I left I did circle around back again to see what Dr. Joe’s driving this time. And it looks like he’s gone Electric.

Dr Joe's Tesla Model X

That’s a Tesla Model X SUV that has 1020 Peak Horsepower, will do the 1/4 mile in 9.9 seconds, and 0-60 in 2.5.


Dermatology and Plastic Surgery pays really well.

One thing new I noticed on my way up to Dr. Joe’s was this full-blown drill rig just about 1/2 mile off I-45.

FM2351 Drill Rig 1

FM2351 Drill Rig 2

And they’ve even got 4 crew trailers around back.

Wonder if they need gate guards? Sure would be a short commute.

Tomorrow I’m dropping Jan off at Brandi’s for the next 5 days so she can Landon-sit until Brandi gets back from her business trip on Saturday.

Just me and Karma now.