Showing posts from February, 2022

Sushi Again

My wife and I like to eat a little bit of sushi now and then. I am amazed at the quality of sushi that can be had in this day of age in the middle of our country and as far out in the sticks as we live. There is better sushi to be had in our Urban Jungle 100 miles up the road but it isn't worth the drive just for that. Fortunately, a sushi restaurant opened up in our town a few years back that makes pretty decent sushi and so we would go there fairly regularly, at least by our standards. (Maybe four or five times a year.) The about a month ago, it was hit with health code violations, which is never a good thing when consuming raw ingredients. (Most of the sushi we eat is preserved but occasionally we get some with raw fish in it.) While definitely a concern in a restaurant setting, most of the violations could probably be found in most household kitchens but it was enough that they were forced to shut down and have been closed every since. At least that was until this past weekend

Wordle In Two

Like millions of other people, I was swept up in the Wordle craze and play it every morning before the kids are up and about. I enjoy the brain exercise. As you can see from the statistics panel shown above, nearly half the time I can guess the word in four tries. Most of the other half time, my successful guesses are split between three and five tries with two outliers that took all six tries. Guessing it in one try is a function of only chance and I would have to play for seven years, everyday and always using the same word, in my case TRADE, before I might succeed. Still, I keep hoping that someday I might guess the word on my second try if I could get enough letters in my first attempt. Which brings me to Wednesday when my first attempt gave me three letters in their correct position. As you can see below, my hopes were soon dashed,

Super Snackcoma

 I was never really a sports person. I guess a lot of that stems from the lack of television in the house I grew up in for the first 18 years of my life. That means in modern times I am generally doing something else besides sitting inside watching a sport game on television. But for many years, I watched various games on television in social settings to ... well be social, and so I have come to appreciate certain aspects of what the majority of the population does on certain weekends. I suppose that is why, my immediate family and I did watch the Superbowl and randomly cheered on the losing team (Bengals) while eating ourselves into a snackcoma and paying attention during the halftime show and commercials.  We don't do this every year, but this particular year we had nothing better going on and so my wife and I spent the weekend making various appetizers. I made a 7 layer taco dip and pigs-n-a-blanket while my wife prepared hamburger sliders and a vegetable tray with homemade humm

Back Pay

I'm not sure how we allowed this to happen but we did. Partly out of our own ignorance I suppose and partly because it is just so confusing to figure all of it out. I hope it is more of the latter than the former and soon, we should be well on our way of figuring all this out so it won't happen again. I like to do our taxes early in February. I know victims of tax fraud, i.e. somebody other than them filed their taxes to receive a large refund and it took them a long long time to get things sorted out again. The number one way to combat this crime is to file your taxes before they do and so that is what I do. However, while figuring out our taxes for 2021, I noticed that my wife's pay is down from last year, quite a bit. This shouldn't be and so it had me asking her questions and in turn she asking questions to the chief financial guru in her organization.  My wife's doesn't receive a salary per se. She gets paid depending on the complexity of the patient she ca

Turn and Cough

No picture attached to this post for reasons that will soon become clear. I'm getting of an age where the rules of seeing a doctor change. I'm transitioning from only seeing a doctor when I think I might be dying to seeing a doctor on a somewhat regular basis to prevent me from accidentally dying of self neglect. And so after nearly three decades, I signed up for my first physical checkup. Not having done such a thing for a long time, I was I think, understandably nervous. But soon after the doctor came in and stated that we don't do the finger up the bum exam anymore unless something else suggests that it would be prudent, I grew more relaxed. He did all the normal things that were done as a child such as the rubber mallet to the knees to the icy cold stethoscope to various previously warm parts of my torso to the wooden popsicle stick stuck so far down my throat that I gag.  Also on the list were answering lots of questions and spilling the beans on some of the aches and

Carr Family

 The Carr family is one of my older lines in my family tree thanks in large part to a book on the Carr family that one can find and read in various places over the internet. According to it, four Carr brothers came over in the early 1600's, landing in Plymouth, Massachusetts and the rest, as you might say, is history. Unfortunately, I have not documented anything in the book so the earliest Carr ancestor I can verify is Benjamin Carr. He was born in Maryland shortly after the start of the Revolutionary War and ended up in Indiana by his death 75 years later. His will is preserved online in which he lists his very large family in detail, including my 4th great grandfather Balis (seen above) who received a $400 inheritance. Benjamin evidently wasn't literate as his will is signed with an 'X' but he was to be the last illiterate person in that line of my family tree. Balis would spend the first 35 years of his life around home where he married wife Sarah Jones whom gave bi

Flunked Fire Starting

  Large pile, barely noticeable flames With melting high temperatures forecasted all week long, no wind and snow still covering the area around one of my brush piles in my actual lawn, I thought I would attempt to burn it while conditions were favorable. So with a rake, lawn chair and fire making supplies in hand, I went out and started a small fire on the upwind (very slight wind) side of the pile. It took off and was burning albeit at a really slow pace. After an hour of reading my book, I realized that it wasn't going to ever get really hot so I went back inside where I was more comfortable and just checked on it every so often. It smoldered for a couple more hours and then I could see no more smoke emanating from the pile. So I did what every redneck with no eyebrows does and grabbed some old chainsaw gas I needed to use up and tossed a couple cans of it on the fire. Each time would produce a large ball of fire with a loud whoosh of air followed by intense burning for a handful

Smith Family Circle

Smith Family Cemetery The other of my Smith families in my ancestral tree were born and live in Rockingham county, Virginia in the waning days of the 1700's and up to the mid 1800's. At the time, Rockingham county was probably considered the heart of Virginia situated in the mountains in the middle of the state. But shortly after my ancestors left to go west in the 1850's, the state was divided up and now Rockingham is on the border of Virginia and West Virginia. I know little of why the Smith family packed up and left and don't really know the exact date. John L. Smith died in 1853 and is buried in Virginia while his wife Barbara Driver Smith and children all are buried in eastern Iowa. I suspect they all left after the death of John L. Smith in 1853. Barbara, aged 63 at the time, probably needed a fresh start and I'm guessing their sons probably needed land to make a living. However, in a biography of one of her sons, William D. Smith, he is listed as having moved


Pagudpud, Philippines When we moved into this house a decade ago, we decided to go a different route to decorate the walls. All the various purchased art stayed in boxes still stored in our basement and instead we decided that only our own art would hang on the walls. For my wife, that mostly means paintings but for me, that means hanging up enlargements of photos I have taken or created. In my office, I have made enlargement of various maps that I love to visually look at. Upstairs, I have a couple black and white ones I took in my youth and the one seen below. All of these are printed on canvas using an online printing service called Canvas Press ( If you goolge Canvas Press instead of using a link be very careful as there are two or three other canvas printing places listed ahead of Canvas Press in the search results and I have been fooled before. My wife has two patient rooms at her office in need of some decorating and so we decided to carry over the a

Joshua Harvey Smith

 Oh to be a fly on the wall at the time of this article printed in the Cedar Falls Gazette on 16 Dec 1902. Joshua Harvey Smith, my 4th great grandparent, had a picture taken of his entire family and how do I wish I had a copy of it or at least could see it if it still exists.  J. H. Smith was born in Pennsylvania and according to many unsourced trees on the internet, his line goes back a couple more generations to my 6th great grandfather who fought in the Revolution. But Smith is as  you might guess, a very common name and without records, I am loathe to take anything I read on the internet as gospel. But I do have records from J.H. Smith after he moved to Iowa and through the descending generations.  Though I have records, I know very little about the man. Through his obituary, I know he came to Iowa at 17 years old and was a school teacher. However, none of the census records list him as such and he is always listed as a farmer. So I'm guessing, he was most likely both. At the l


Older readers might recall that we are members of a gourmet group that meets approximately four or five times a year at the various houses of the five couples in the group. The goal is to share a five course meal and lots of fine conversation. The host generally are in charge of planning the menu and preparing the entree and perhaps an appetizer while other appetizers, soup, salad and dessert are brought by the other couples according to the planned menu. It is a lot of fun and it has been hard to do without it these last couple years. This year however with the last of our families fully vaccinated, we have opted to restart them again and recently, it was our turn to host. We had appetizers of roasted squash tarts, a fresh veggie and yogurt spoon with baharat seasoning and a smoked salmon hors d'oeuvre. Next up we had a lentil soup that was quite exquisite, followed by a grapefruit and almond salad.  For the main course, my wife and I prepared braised short ribs served with a pars

Help From the Masses

  Unlike the last post mystery which I'm pretty sure none of my readers could ever help me answer, this one is more likely to be answered by asking your help. And so I am. I am sorting through inherited things determining what I should keep and how to preserve those things. Above is a small pillow, probably 10 inches square, that belonged to my great uncle who fought in the Pacific Ocean during World War II in the Navy. The stitching says it is certainly homemade but I am intrigued by the color scheme. What does it mean?   My uncle served on several battleships in the Pacific theater of World War II and was in Tokyo Bay during the Japanese surrender signing though not on the U.S.S. Missouri where it precisely happened. I thought perhaps it was Navy signal flag but wasn't able to find it. I did find a Navy signal for the number 4 from around 1880 that has the square with the red and blue triangles but not with the gold star. Nor could I find anything signal flag that was merely