Mystery Run


Yesterday’s blog was a review of lunch at Red Lobster.  Today  is this evening’s “mystery run.”

I came home from 10 hours at work thinking of surprising Betsy by taking the whole family out to something simple and cheap for supper. But Betsy had spent a good portion of the day turning the carcase of a Sam’s Club rotisserie chicken into what turned out to be an excellent soup.  That and the fact that I came home to hours of reading for my Master’s program class that started tonight, and running out seemed like such a waste of valuable time — hers and mine.

So instead I asked Betsy to choose something for us to watch off Amazon Prime Instant Video — which we would Chromecast onto the 52 inch projection HDTV the neighbor gave us this spring to “get rid of it.” Betsy chose Dr. Who — the first episode of the 2005 relaunch. It started out almost too much like a horror film (we aren’t horror film people), but quickly got into something with a little more humor in it.

Once that ended I told everyone to get their footwear on quickly. They kept on asking me where we were going. I kept answering “to the car.” So out we went with the destination unstated.  We turned down Armour Road and Betsy noted that the McDonald’s sign was lit on the store that they had tore down and rebuilt. But it didn’t look like it was quite open yet. There were still cones across the driveway into the parking lot.

Instead I turned into the strip mall before McDonalds, up to our local doughnut shop – Donut King. We hadn’t been in months. I think the last time was celebrating Nathan’s choir concert for middle school. So we picked up a dozen doughnuts — each could choose 3, and came home to enjoy our snack, watch another show (Stargate SG-1) via Amazon Prime and continue reading for class. A 15-minute turnaround and celebration. Simple, fun, and I got to spend (a little) money.


19 years and counting — celebrated a day early


Red Lobster — for the seafood lover in you. Since that seafood lover is non-existent in Betsy, she was very nice to have lunch with me today at Red Lobster for our anniversary lunch (yes, our anniversary is tomorrow, but we always celebrate on the Labor Day Weekend, since work days don’t really give much time off at the beginning of the month). It helped that I had a $25 gift card — a Christmas gift, as I recall — that we hadn’t used yet.

Fortunately Red Lobster also serves a lot of chicken, and Betsy eats chicken. She had their maple glazed chicken, which came with wild rice pilaf, a side (she chose broccoli), and a side salad.

I ended up ordering the same thing I think I ordered the previous time I had gone to Red Lobster — their Bar Harbor Salad with Shrimp. I am the one of the two of us that eats salads more than Betsy does, and what makes salads so good is not just the lettuce, but everything they put on them.  At home I think I am the type that puts on “too much” dressing (as if that is possible!), but I also eat more greens because of it. At Red Lobster, the Bar Harbor salad is loaded with lots of wonderful things: With fresh romaine, sun-dried berries and honey-roasted pecans with a blueberry-balsamic vinaigrette dressing. The waitress asked me if I wanted the bleu cheese crumbles — but of course!

I had looked at a soup and shrimp salad combo as my other option, so I suggested Betsy and I add a bowl of New England Clam Chowder to our order, because I did want some soup, and Betsy always enjoys a good Clam Chowder (her one seafood like).

By the time we began the meal with their cheddar biscuits and the bowl of chowder, we had enough room for about half my salad, and half her chicken, with her salad entirely untouched, so we boxed them up to take home as leftovers.

Since this seems totally non-sequential, I will end my notes with the beverage order, which was taken first. Betsy had soda — half Det Coke/half Sprite.  It came out with the Sprite on the bottom and the Coke on the top, with the border between them slowly mingling and not quite defined. I asked what sort of flavored iced teas they had, and chose the cranberry iced tea. I like most things cranberry, and this tea was excellent. Most flavored teas are heavy with the sugars, almost syrupy, but the cranberry tea wasn’t sweet that way at all. It still had the tart taste that cranberry should have, without any of the mouth-puckering intensity it can sometime get. Very smooth is how I would describe it.

Our waitress, Melissa, was very attentive, helpful in suggestions, and always had what we needed when we needed. And I could see as she moved throughout the tables near us that she was just a helpful and personable to the other tables she served as she was to us.

To conclude, it was a nice $13 date — by the time we included tax, tip, and gift card.

Fyre Fyre


Today is day two of the Kansas City Renaissance Faire.  It is also my second day this year singing with Madrigalia Bar Nonne at the Festival. So as a teaser here are a few clips of us singing yesterday.  These clips were caught by anachronistic spy devices from the modern era during live performances. The sound was captured from odd locations, with all the accompanying odd background noises. What always amazes me is how well we project through all that white noise going on, at whatever volume levels.

So listen, enjoy, and maybe come out and here us live, and get us in full color.

Fyre Fyre

Ascendit Deus

Agnus Dei

See What a Maze of Error

Come Away Sweet Love

Four Arms

Flutes A Bec


Flute A Bec 01Today’s column is later than usual. Technical issues.

I spent today at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, both listening to musical performances and providing them.  I also had my video camera in spy mode to capture some of the footage. Since I was in performer attire, I couldn’t be seen to be obviously operating modern equipment I shouldn’t know anything about as a resident of the Renaissance.

Today’s blog is going to feature the group “Flutes A Bec”. I became acquainted with this group 3 or more years ago. They come out usually one weekend of the festival to showcase their recorder ensemble. It is made up of Channing Horner, his wife Louise (both professors emeritus of Foreign Languages at Northwest Missouri State University), their two daughters and another professor at Northwest Missouri State University. I became acquainted with them because they tended in past years to share a stage with us, and we share some of the same repertoire, and would thus sing, or play, an occasional song as part of the other group’s performance slot.

This year the Horners’ 50th wedding anniversary was this weekend, so they had a lot of other guests, and family, out during the festival, and were performing on a new stage: the Duxbury Wine Bar Patio. The stage was new, in the sense that the Bar Patio had been extended (doubled) with some new wood decking. The only problem was they didn’t add any seating yet, so people walking by who stopped to listen didn’t stay long.

My group, Madrigalia Bar Nonne, had been scheduled at the Patio a few years ago, while it was still a smaller, more crowded deck. We found it a fun place to sing, but the Patio overlooks two other performance stages, places where dramatic stories and sword fights take place, with lots of yelling and cheering, which makes it interesting when you are singing or playing less boisterous music.

I managed to get the following clips of the Flutes A Bec in performance.  You can hear a lot of that background noise in some of the clips, but you can also hear how well the flutes themselves project, and cut through the ambient noise. During one of the clips you may even catch sounds of the royal parade passing by below the stage.

Flute A Bec 02


(Note: Apologies for any inaccuracies or vague references to people or places.  All of this information was compiled from memory and fragmentary sources.  It is amazing what facts you don’t discuss with someone to learn about them when you meet them through a different common interest.)

Come to the White Stag Inn




Today I read a blog by one of my favorite authors (which, being a favorite, really means I need to find more time to read more of her works) plugging Labor Day Weekend ebook sales of hers and other independently published (“Indie”) authors. Since I was struggling for a theme for my blog today, it helped solve my dilemma. I’ll do my own plug, just not for books.

Come to the White Stag Inn this weekend (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) to hear Madrigalia Bar Nonne perform. We have half-hour sets at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Where is the White Stag Inn? At the Kansas City Renaissance Festival.


The Kansas City Renaissance Festival opens this weekend for its season of seven weekends, including two Mondays (Labor Day and Columbus Day). Madrigalia Bar Nonne will be there performing 4 half hour sets each of the 16 days — usually 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m. For opening weekend we perform at the White Stag Inn for three sets, and then close at 4 p.m. at the Gallows Stage (plenty of good puns about closing at the gallows — but I’m not going there).

Stage schedules are subject to change from weekend to weekend.  We might be at the White Stag Inn all seven weekends, or we might be in a lot of places.  The weekend program can usually be trusted to locate us.

Fun helping others


Okay, so this isn’t the big social issue about helping others, helping others in need, being the good Samaritan, the good neighbor.  Just a little plug for my online game, and the fact that it is set up in certain areas to encourage working together, as teams, and helping each other out.  And sometimes when you are helping someone else out, you get to see them earn an advancement or a reward. Like the player I did tonight. Seemed like it took forever to complete that building we were in, but when it was done he got a new gag.

So here are a few screenshots from Toontown Rewritten.  The first from tonight, others from other times. All of them for the characters belonging to others that I helped achieve new levels:

ttr-screenshot-Wed-Aug-27-23-15-19-2014-70363ttr-screenshot-Fri-Aug-01-20-56-56-2014-199978 ttr-screenshot-Fri-Aug-01-22-30-38-2014-76525 ttr-screenshot-Sat-Aug-09-16-07-09-2014-263571 ttr-screenshot-Sat-Aug-09-16-07-20-2014-263831 ttr-screenshot-Thu-Jun-19-21-19-04-2014-49061 ttr-screenshot-Thu-Jun-19-22-21-14-2014-38382

Be Careful Little Ones How You Drive


Sunday was a day that some might say had curious omens for us.

As mentioned in previous blog, Sunday we traveled to Wilderness Retreat and Development Center to attend our son’s baptism during Avondale United Methodist Church’s Worship in the Wilderness weekend.

This is what we saw when we pulled out our driveway:


The neighbors down the street had just moved in during the past week, and this U-Haul van had been parked down the street on the side Saturday night when we came home. We weren’t sure where they were driving it between Saturday night and Sunday morning to get it turned and stuck over the side of the road like this. But we didn’t go down the road to get out of the neighborhood Sunday morning.

When we got on I-35 to head north, just north of Liberty we ran across this:


The picture of the semi doesn’t do it justice (we took it on the way back — at 70 mph). It was crumpled and bent sort of accordion-like. The accident that caused  it occurred the afternoon before (see this blog for other ways this accident affected other church-attendees for the weekend), so it didn’t affect our progress, but it was the second vehicle we saw in odd circumstance.

A few miles up the road we saw a horse-trailer on the side of the road, between Kearney and Holt.  That seemed to be a simple flat tire being changed. That vehicle we expected to be back on the road soon.

Finally, between Lawson and the camp itself, we were slowed by a police car that first sped past us, then stopped on the side of the road where the shoulder got very low, grassy and wide before hitting the treeline. As were crept past the police car we saw the reason — another car slid off the side of the road and into/against the tree line.  It looked to have occurred at least the night before — so why the police officer coming now? We did not know the answer to that.

But 4 separate incidents certainly instilled a sense of caution in our driving.