Wednesday Wanderings: Blue Fleece Pants, Christmas Road Trip, Swimming, and Bowl Games

Cold, clear day for a road trip on I-35

Taking out Annie in the morning has definitely changed since I moved to my house, especially during cold weather.  When I lived in my apartment, I’d wake up, get dressed in jeans, shirt, jacket or coat, and maybe even gloves and a ski cap.  Then I’d get the leash on Annie, and we’d go down the three flights, and finally, out to the sidewalk, and walk to the corner.  Now I pull on my fleece pants and a sweatshirt, and we slip down the stairs and out the back door.  I look at my plants while Annie finishes her “business” and back inside we go.  With the 8-foot fence, we’re protected from any wind or neighbor’s view, so it doesn’t matter that I’m still wearing my fuzzy fleece pants with the blue and white snowflakes.

So here I am still in my fleece pants happily thinking about the upcoming New Year’s Day and that I’m in my own cozy home after a Christmas road trip to Kansas.  We made the trips going and coming back each in a one day, but while the drive up to central Kansas never seems too long, the return always becomes drudgery, especially the last boring leg from Dallas to Houston.  I’m sure the reason the trip up is better because of the anticipation of the arrival and seeing family and the old home state.  This time, we had good weather driving through Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas both ways, but the snowy effects of the winter storm that went through the region were evident all the way from near Wichita into Denton, Texas, where the last remnants lay in the ditches and shaded areas.

Despite the cold wintry weather, we had a very pleasant Christmas.  It was the first Christmas that I had spent together with all my siblings since I was a kid out on the farm and the first time that we had all been together since my mom’s funeral last November.  It was an enjoyable time because it was one of the times when aside from the holiday itself, there was no stressful reason for us all to get together.

The red and gold rug looks great at the entry

I hit the jackpot when it came to presents this year.  Everyone was thinking about my new house, and the gift cards to Home Depot and Lowe’s will definitely be put to good use.  I also got sets of screwdrivers and other tools that I will use.  I’ve been saying, “When you have a house, you never seem to have enough screwdrivers.”  I guess everyone had been reading my mind.  I also got a nice rug that matches the colors of my living room–red and gold.  There was a bit of color planning, but part of it has just been evolution.

One of my current do-it-yourself projects

I had been looking for a coffee table, but a bench I had seemed to be just the thing.  It’s the second “project” that I’ve been working on in my garage.  (I realize now that I am going to enjoy having a garage more than just for parking the car.)   I picked up the bench from a what-not shop at leat ten years ago.  I used stain, both latex and acrylic paint, and now I am finishing it with coats of polyurethane so that it will take the hard use I’ll give it in front of my sofa.  Actually, I’m surprised at how nice it has turned out.  Maybe I’ve got a knack!

Having a coffee table is a definite necessity for a place to put the remote controls and the munchies when it’s time to watch the bowl games, and I will be watching them until the last one is over.  This thing with Texas Tech’s football coach is something else.  Well, just as I’m writing this, I checked ESPN and see that Mike Leach has been fired.  I couldn’t see how they could let him get away with that, but coaches have done this sort of thing for a long time and for many there are no repercussions because of how much power these guys (and women, in some sports) wield.  How is it that in many states the football coaches of public universities are the highest paid state employees?  Mack Brown of the University of Texas makes $5.1 million.  I don’t care whether football pays for itself or not; there is something wrong when an employee makes more than the bosses, in this case the president of the university or even the governor of Texas.

Nathan Adrian helped Team USA win Duel in the Pool

With all the preparations for the Christmas trip, I missed out on the swimming news (not even on ESPN information banner), but Team USA won big over a European team made up of top swimmers from Great Britain, Italy, and Germany at the Duel in the Pool in Manchester, England on December 18th and 19th.  One of the big winners in the event was Nathan Adrian, who became the first American to swim under 21 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle race and helped the U.S. team set a world record in the 400 free relay.

OK, I suppose now it’s time to get out of these blue fleece pants and hit the shower before the day gets away from me.

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“Hello, Police Department . . . I’ve Been Robbed”

I just saw this article in today’s Wichita Eagle and almost peed on myself from laughing, so I have to share it:

Couple Arrested After Reporting Robbery

WICHITA — A man and woman notified police that robbers had stolen something from them at their Planeview apartment Monday night, and ended up being arrested themselves.

What had been stolen? Marijuana.

The 32-year-old man and 29-year-old woman said five armed men came to their place in the 3800 block of East Ross Parkway at about 9 p.m. and took marijuana. One of the suspects accidentally fired his gun, spooking the rest of the suspects, police said.

They ran from the apartment and fled in a white Cadillac, dropping marijuana as they ran.

More marijuana was found inside the apartment, police said, so the man and woman were booked on suspicion of various drug charges, including selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.

Wichita–You’ve Got an Image Problem, Dog Gone It!

dog reading newspaperI’m from Kansas originally, but I’m not all that familiar with the state’s largest city, Wichita. I’ve been there a few times, just to go shopping. Otherwise, I’ve driven through it, flown into the airport on the west edge of town, and, more than anything, taken the bypass around it. I’m sorry, you nice Wichitans who may look at this blog, but your fair city needs a PR campaign–big time.

For years, the story of the ominous BTK killer hung around, and then the conservative politicians and wacko religious nuts couldn’t let Dr. Tiller or his clinic alone.

Worse, though, is how the Wichita Eagle, the air capital’s newspaper, grinds at these stories day after day, dissecting them to the nth degree. Even after BTK was caught and sentenced, every so often out comes another top of the front page story, and it’ll probably be the same now with Tiller and, for sure, his murderer, Roeder.  But it’s not just the big stories that are full of doom and gloom. I click on kansas. com almost every day, and what are the top stories? Shootings, killings, and drunk drivers hitting children. These are not stories that would make a blogger want to buy a retirement home there.

So come on y’all. Put that loose change together and fork out a bit for some positive PR for your city.

I mean stories like this one from today’s Eagle, well, even though they might raise questions that would make a Mennonite chuckle before going to the liquor store right before it closes on Saturday night, they don’t do any good for the city’s image.

BY STAN FINGER

The Wichita Eagle

– A 43-year-old man faces criminal charges after neighbors told police they saw him having sex with his roommate’s dog in south Wichita early Saturday morning.

Witnesses told police they heard the dog barking and yelping shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday in the 2000 block of South Santa Fe.

When they looked to see what was going on, they saw the man with the dog in the backyard of the house across the street.

The dog, a mix of labrador and German shepherd, belonged to the suspect’s roommate, police said.

The dog apparently was not injured in the incident, Lt. Troy Livingston of the sex crimes unit said.

Investigators are looking into whether there have been similar incidents at the house or involving the suspect elsewhere, Livingston said.

Investigators will be presenting the case to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office, which will determine what charges will be filed in the case, Livingston said.

Yes, there just are a lot of questions here. One way or the other,  the roommate will have some But who are these people up at 2 AM, peering into other people’s backyards? Mr. Finger may fill us in with more details in tomorrow’s edition.