Lower Sixties in Mid-January … Unreal

All that is left of West Kay
What's Left of the Street I Used to Live On (no longer has access to Main Street at the top of the hill)

I work up early Sunday morning. Nothing unusual for me, really, I try to wake up at the same time every morning, regardless of whether I work or not. I flipped on the Wii to do my morning weigh in.  I’ve discovered in the last couple of weeks that contrary to my own belief, I eat less on weekends than weekdays.  Perhaps because I’m more busy or distracted by housework and errands or fun stuff (like the benefit concert Saturday night).  I am steadily losing the pounds, slowly but surely (or safely as both the Wii Fit Plus program and SparkPeople website reassure me).  I decided to adjust my Yoga and Training routine to shorten it, with a goal to do roughly fifteen minutes every morning after my weigh-in.  I’m finding it very easy to insert my cardio into my daily routine.  It’s the strength training that’s tougher (in more ways than one).

Since I thought Terry had had a rough night with no sleep since he crawled into bed after five in the morning, I let him sleep and opted to attend church remotely via WFC‘s online campus.  The lead teach pastor started a new sermon series last week urging us all to know Jesus (as opposed to knowing about Jesus).  The second sermon of the series focused on Jesus as Creator.  My notes haven’t made it online yet at my other blog, but will sometime today.  Our plan had been to attend church at WFC’s Speedway campus, which just happens to take place inside the Legends 14 Theater.  We prefer the praise band that leads worship there and had hoped to take in ‘We Bought a Zoo‘ at the first showing of the day.  As I learned when Terry woke up around ten o’clock, we could have gone had I woken him up.  But I did not know that he had actually slept most of the night in front of the television.  Oh, well. We can still see the movie on Monday.

I started preparing the marinade for grilling our chicken.  Since the temperature outside approached the unheard of lower sixties (in the middle of January in Kansas … beyond unbelievable), we decided to fire up the outside grill.  Or rather I did.  Terry supervised since he’s still only got the use of one arm for the next few weeks.  After the chicken had marinated for over an hour, I placed it on the preheated grill and lamented not purchasing some asparagus while at the grocery store Saturday afternoon.  Steamed broccoli and a spinach and baby spring mix salad would have to do.  Thirty minutes of grilling later, we had perfectly cooked Honey Garlic Chicken to savor.

Terry and I had started watching a Christian movie I had sitting in our Netflix streaming queue while cooking lunch.  The Encounter proved disappointing for me at least.  Terry expected company to arrive soon after we finished, so I decided Roxy and I would go for a walk.

I walked at an easy, slow pace to accommodate her arthritis (and the fact that she hadn’t been walked since Rachelle returned to Texas last week).  We crossed Main Street and headed west on West Mary Street, but rather than continuing west, I turned right on a newly re-installed access road that cut parallel to Main Street back north to Kansas Street, crossing over West Kay Street, and the house we rented prior to purchasing the home we now own on Bambi Street.  We turned around at Kansas Street and decided to climb the hill back up to Main Street via the abandoned West Kay Street’s crumbling pavement (see photo above).

Roxy did very well walking on my left, even with cars and trucks whizzing by her not ten feet away.  Of course, by that time, she just wanted to get back home and take a nap on the memory foam topper on the hideaway bed.  She perked up and even pulled me most of the way home because she spied another woman with two dogs (one small dog and a medium-sized dog) about a block ahead of us.  I even thought about taking both Roxy and Apollo to the dog park, but worried that Roxy always overdoes herself chasing after the little dogs and the younger ones.  It usually takes her a day or two to recover from her dog park adventures.

After Terry’s friend departed, we sat down to watch another movie, this one a foreign film called ‘Point Blank.’  I liked it and did not realize that French films could be just as good as an action flick produced in the States.  A good story (if predictable) but better than average acting (even having to read English subtitles).  I’ll write a separate review later today.

For dinner, Terry wanted to use the last of the chicken pot pie filling and gravy.  I had another tube of croissants (of a different type) so I improvised some turnovers by placing the filling (without any extra gravy) in one triangle and placing a second triangle of pastry over it and pinching the edges together.  I had enough filling for four turnovers.  I popped them in the oven for twenty minutes at 375 degrees and warmed up the gravy when I took them out of the oven.  Not bad.  For our after dinner movie, we watched the re-broadcast of the Hallmark Channel’s most recently original film: ‘A Taste of Romance‘ – better than average and a bit of a tear jerker a couple of times.

I checked my e-mail and social networking sites before heading off to bed, noting that before dawn on Monday I had an interesting conjunction of moon, planet and star I could witness.  I stepped outside this morning, first through my front door (but couldn’t see the moon at all from that vantage point), then out my back patio door and looked directly south.  And what did I see?  The same exact thing displayed in the graphic to the right.  Saturn, the quarter crescent moon  and the star Spica.  Sadly, I couldn’t locate my binoculars nor did I have my tripod available (it’s in the trunk of the car).  Not that attempting to photograph the moon (always too bright a light source) with the dimmer planet and star in the same from would have resulted in any post-worthy photographs.  A grand sight to behold first thing in the today on such a clear, still, not-quite cold morning in mid-January.

Restaurant Review: Blue Pig BBQ (Ardmore, Oklahoma)

On our return trip from Texas, Saturday, 22 January 2011, Terry and I passed through Ardmore, Oklahoma just in time for lunch.  After cruising through the main drags of the city, we ended up back at the first exit from I-35 and decided to try the Blue Pig BBQ establishment.

Blue Pig BBQ in Ardmore, OK
Blue Pig BBQ in Ardmore, OK

The advertised special for Saturdays included catfish, something I hadn’t eaten since an after work dinner gathering at Jazz at the Legends with my former carpool buddy a few months ago.   When I asked our waitress about the special, she reluctantly informed me they were already out of catfish (and it wasn’t even noon yet!).

So, I scrambled to select my second choice, and settled on a hot link sandwich and sweet baked beans.  Terry asked the waitress which she preferred, the pulled pork of the chopped brisket.  She indicated the latter.  Terry ordered the chopped brisket and sweet baked beans.  We also ordered onion rings as an appetizer.

Our appetizer arrived promptly and we enjoyed the treat, soon followed by our sandwiches and sides.  My hotlink was a garden variety offering on a plain white hamburger bun.  Being a bread fanatic, I just shake my head at why barbecue places don’t offer better bread.  Another oddity, instead of plates (paper, styrofoam or otherwise), our food was served on a paper lined serving tray.  A bit of an ‘ich’ factor for me, but I survived.

While I wasn’t overwhelmed by my hotlink sandwich, the beans proved above average (slightly below Famous Dave’s Wilbur beans and even farther below Jack Stack’s beans which are the apex of baked bean heaven).

An interesting short lunch (we were completely stuffed and ready to hit the road in about thirty minutes) but not a repeat stop for us on our next trip to Texas.

Restaurant Review: Smokin’ Guns BBQ

After Terry’s appointment at St. Luke’s Hospital, he spent an hour or so in my office while I wrapped work up.  We debated the merits of a couple of barbecue places he wanted to try on the way home from the Country Club Plaza.  If I’d known how much ‘fun’ it was going to be getting home from North Kansas City, Missouri (to Lansing, Kansas), I might have voiced a louder opinion about his other suggestion.

Taking the scenic construction route east from the Plaza Library along Volker to US-71 North, and a second more leisurely scenic byway through the construction zone along the I-29/I-35 bridge across the Missouri River, we found ourselves exiting onto Bedford Avenue which deposited us in a railroad track infested industrial area.  We gingerly navigated the railroad crossings and arrived to front row street parking before the Smokin’ Guns BBQ establishment.

Terry ordered the burnt ends platter (reasonably priced at just a bit over ten bucks) and I wanted to order a quarter of chicken, but was informed they were out of chicken for today.  So, I had to quickly review the menu and settle for a regular sized turkey sandwich with a side of green beans.  Terry’s sides included baked beans and potato salad.

We seated our selves in the very clean but still slightly small eating area with the cliche’d red and white checked plastic table clothes.  We were served within a couple of minutes of getting our drinks.  My turkey was flavorful and moist.  The green beans disappointingly bland but very hot (temperature wise, not spice-wise).  They could have used some pepper and some ham or bacon as the white onions were more garnishment than flavor.

I tried a bit of Terry’s burnt ends and found them acceptable but not as sweet as I had expected.  The baked beans had a slightly smokey flavor, but nothing that exploded or excited my taste buds.  I’ll pass on the potato salad as I’m not sure it was made in house.

Neither one of us could finish our portions (nothing unusual there, I’m on a diet and Terry’s medicines often cause his digestive system to suffer).  Our return trip was an adventure, since Smokin’ Guns was located in a ‘peninsula’ of the Missouri River (almost surrounded on three sides by the river) and I needed to go almost due west to get to Lansing, which is impossible if you look at a map and where the roads lead from that area.

So we took another scenic route north using 9 highway up through Parkville.  I only made one wrong turn (left on Main Street in Parkville) and dead-ended to a railroad crossing (with a train racing me to the road) near the Farmer’s Market pavilion.  I turned around and headed up the hill on Main Street, eventually reuniting with 9 highway, which I somehow left in one of the construction zones.

From there, it was a quick jaunt through more police directed traffic constructions zone on 45 highway west.  We finally spied I-435 and zipped back over the Missouri River to the Land of Ahs (aka Kansas) and enjoyed K-5, the sunset and the autumn foliage.  I retrieved the Firebird from the Hallmark parking lot and still managed to make it back home as Terry was pulling into the garage.

Construction zone headaches aside, Smokin’ Guns BBQ will not be on our return list in the near future.  It’s Kansas City … so many barbecue joints, so little time.