Jan 19

Already, for a moment at least, this is my year

We had ribs last night, and company. And all of that was grand. We also had brussels sprouts, which served the dual function of covering greens and my annual brussels sprouts intake.

Most importantly we had black eyed peas and no one else wanted any. So these all became mine:

I don’t know what the rest of the year or even most of this week has in store for me. Perhaps this is the high water mark. Maybe not, but last night, over ribs and peas, that seemed just fine.

Oct 17

And now some photos

We had a beautiful day on Saturday and so The Yankee and I spent the afternoon pedaling around the countryside.

Lately, I’m having to work to keep up with her. She’s fast! Still, I managed to get some nice lines in the composition, though.

We had a nice dinner that night, too:

Today, I walked off campus just in time to see the sun say goodnight:

I seldom manage to be in a place that gives a great western view this time of day, but this time of day, this time of year, gives off some nice light:

The gates were built in the 1980s. And it only took 80 years or so to get them built. Students had raised money for them at the turn of the century. But the board was going to do the same thing so the students’ money went to another project. The university put the gates on hold while nearby buildings got built. They wanted to match the plan to the aesthetic, you see. So a few generations go by, a few different plans for the gates come and go. And then in the 1960s there was a new move to build those gates. But there was also criticism; people deemed it a wasteful expenditure when the money could go to scholarships and financial aid. The gates were put on hold again. And then, in the 1980s, the man who ran financial aid for the university donated the money and had them named in honor of his parents. And now we have the Sample Gates.

Jul 17

Try the salmon … and definitely the croquettes

It was a quiet day on campus. The Friday of the next-to-last week of summer classes moves pretty slowly. I spent a few minutes in an audio booth:

At home, the folks are here for the weekend. After work we took them out to a local restaurant, a farm-to-fork joint. It was even called The Farm. I had the ribs:

Other things they have are better.

In the restroom they have a newspaper collage. There was a date, in the collage, Thursday, July 31, 1919. Let’s assume all of the clippings were from that same issue, making this story is 98 years old:

It seems an odd thing to read, all these years later, but people ought to have an opportunity to educate themselves on civics and the issues of the day. So let’s refresh ourselves on the issue of their day. By the end of 1919 a significant chunck of American women could vote in presidential elections. As the world started recovering from the Great War more women throughout the world became able to cast a ballot. That created more pressure here at home and several votes that would give the power to women were lost by close counts in D.C.

In May of 1919 it finally happened. Woodrow Wilson brought the Congress back to vote on a potential constitutional amendment. Missouri ratified the amendment, just a few weeks before the story above was published. Arkansas became the 12th state to ratify earlier in that same week. Readers of this little story knew the amendment was a third of the way toward becoming the law of the land. The summer of 1919 must have been full of promise for suffragists.

Tennessee voted to make the 19th Amendment the law of the land in August of 1920. It took a long while, but over the next two generations of voters, ballots cast by gender started to even out.

No one voted on those ribs, though.

Mar 17

We went West

We have successfully reached Napa Valley, which was our goal. We have checked into our hotel … oh wait, I forgot to mention our luggage:

When you pack in a hurry, you tend to pack a lot.

We’re going to be here for four days and I can put a week’s worth of decent clothes in one small roller. Years of practice, you see.

On our way up here this morning The Yankee and I both had a first:

We agreed — in fact we each came to this decision independently — that Whataburger was better. I said this online and people disagreed in varying degrees. This led to an entire conversation on the construct of taste, which I can distill, in this instance, to one sentence: How can people disagree when I am so obviously right?

Not there was anything wrong with In-N-Out. It just wasn’t the best thing in the world. It isn’t a top five burger, if you ask me. Here, let’s settle this. If you notice the menu at In-N-Out the wording suggests you should do the burger with either the onion, or without. So I chose the with option. The onion made the burger. And when an onion makes your burger, well, that’s just a kind of average burger. I did enjoy the fries.

Anyway, we made it to Napa. We checked in to our hotel. We registered for the big Sunday event. We met some friends. The Yankee is here to see four or five friends, and some of them I met tonight.

We went to Morimoto for dinner. That was worth trying. Tomorrow, I think, we’ll be lazy tourists. Sunday we’ll be busy.

Jul 16

We built stuff, but I didn’t take pictures of that

My folks came to town to see the new place this weekend. My step-father helped us build out our attic. We added about 100 square feet of storage space, which will be great for storing decorations and clothes and whatnot. Took us a part of one afternoon and, before long, we had the traditional ceremony of passing the first item, a pair of exterior Christmas trees, through the doorway and into a corner.

We also took them sight-seeing, and lingered in places like this:

For lunch on Sunday we went to Dat’s, a local Cajun-esque place. It is a delightful mixture of rundown and homey and the food is pretty good. The company is better. How often do you get to eat with Dean Martin?

There’s also this little cookie store in town, one of those things you probably couldn’t do anywhere but a college town. It is in an old house with uneven floors and a desperate need of dusting and a coat of paint. But! You can get cookies! Delicious, custom-ordered cookies. And they have a flowchart to help you out:

What we ordered:

Anyway, the folks were great. Lovely to have them visit. We made them to promise to come back when we knew more about the place ourselves, so we could give a proper tour. And, also, the next time they are here, we won’t build things. But my step-father loves to build things.

The Yankee and I had a nice short little ride this evening. Around the curve and down the hill we go:

There she is, ahead of me as always:

And this was right before we literally ran out of road. It became a strange ride, really. Usually you just go out and have a nice time and then come home. This time we got lost, the paved road turned into gravel. Another road turned into a closed road. Riding your bike isn’t usually frustrating, but it can be bemusing. And also, terribly attractive:

Allie stayed home while we were on our ride: