Thursday, December 2, 2021

At Journey's End

Our lodging at a recent stay in downtown St. Augustine, Florida was "At Journey's End", an adorable, and reasonably priced, B&B a few blocks walk to all the area has to offer.  The owners, Mike and Robin, were very helpful in getting us settled in and offering advice on new restaurants and activities.  The breakfasts, or brunches as Robin likes better, were over-the-top delicious.  A parking space was available in the back, a welcome amenity in a parking-constrained area.


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Transition Strips

After the new carpet on the stairs was installed, it was up to me to add the transition strips to complete the project.  After a lot of thinking on how best to get the tightest seam, I decided to cut the track to the width I needed, cut 1-foot pieces of T-moulding and end-molding, and pushed them on the middle of the track.  I then pushed that firmly against the carpet and marked the holes with a Sharpie.  I drilled the pilot holes and screwed down the track, as seen in the first picture below.  I cut the molding to the proper width and pushed them into the track, shown in the second picture.  Totally happy with how it turned out.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Birds Of A Feather

The picture below comes from the golf course at the Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Florida.  A large flock of black anhingas and white pelicans routinely line up on the shore of one of the many lakes and point themselves at the sun.  The anhingas don't have the oil glans that other birds have to make their feathers waterproof, so drying off is part of their daily lives.  Why the pelicans join in is a mystery to me.  Maybe they just like laughing at the golfers hitting approach shots into the lake.  

Monday, November 29, 2021

Asking Questions

I learned over the course of public speaking that asking questions to an audience is both a great way to engage them, but also a minefield of risks.  The rule I now use is "Ask questions everyone can answer."

A couple of real-life examples while engaging a grade school class.

I asked the question "Do you know how Gorilla glass was invented?", and every student knew the answer and the whole room responded "No."  If I had asked "How was Gorilla glass invented?", which is unlikely anyone would know, the response would have been uncomfortable silence.  Children, and adults, don't like being stupid and will disengage, at least a little, and maybe a lot.   What I found interesting was every student listened to exactly what I said.  When I repeat that to adults they tend to ignore the "Do you know" part.  

I then explained how the glass the scientists were working on was accidentally heated way beyond what they intended.  Then I asked "When they took the cooled-down glass out of the heater, they dropped it on a hard floor.  What do you think happened then?"  Every student shouted out "It shattered!!"  And I shouted back "No, it bounced!" and the entire class broke into laughter.  The fact everyone got the wrong answer was terribly funny to them.  No one felt left out or felt less of themselves. 

I've asked other questions that I wish I had thought more about before the words came out.  But I would instantly know from the looks on some of the people's faces I had made them feel bad.  I would think about why that particular question was phrased poorly and restructure it for the next time.  For example, I asked that same class above "Who has a cell phone?"  Most hands shot up, but not all, and I could tell by the faces of the few hands-down students I made them feel like outcasts.  I changed that question to "Who has an iPhone?", talked about that, and then asked "Who has an Android phone?" a few minutes later.  The students without cell phones could keep their hands down for both questions, but there were lots of other hands down at the same time, keeping them out of an embarrassing situation.

Friday, November 26, 2021

White Bean and Mushroom Soup

If you're looking for a new vegetarian soup recipe, this might be your ticket.  In addition to the title ingredients, you add vegetable stock and a colorful combination of kale, onion, sweet peppers, thyme, and other spices.  Takes about an hour from start to warming your innards.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Christmas Invasion

And the winner of the where-do-they-store-all-this-stuff award goes to the owner/decorators of this Kettering, Ohio home.  There are manger scenes, Santa's and Mrs. Claus's, nutcrackers, gingerbread people and houses, Winnie the Pooh, snowmen (including Frostie), Mickie and Minnie, penguins, reindeer, candy canes, gnomes, candles, and even a couple of seals (or sea lions, I can never remember which is which).  I guess they're really into the Christmas vibe.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021


I've been doing a fair (someone thinks "obsessive") amount of genealogy research, documenting as much of my family tree as I can find, starting with my great-great-grandfathers and working forward in time.  Occasionally something comes along that I find surprising, like the fact that I'm related, by marriage, to Charles Lofino, the man that opened this namesake Beavercreek grocery store and has a number of places named after him.

If I'm reading my "Table of Consanguinity" correctly,  Anna Mae Moorman (at the bottom right below), Charles' wife, is a "Second Cousin Once Removed", so we share the same great-great-grandparents, in our case, Franz Heinrich Moorman, who immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in the 1800s and started a huge list of Moorman descendants, myself included.  This Wikipedia link includes that useful table of relationships.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Kids Surfing Contest

Besides the awesome close-to-shore water break seen below, this is a small portion of a local Vero Beach surfing club's young-person contest in late October.  I don't know about you, but growing up with a surfboard in my hands in the tenth month of the year seems idyllic.  What isn't shown is how remarkable these youngsters can surf.  Ah, to be young again!


Friday, November 19, 2021

Velero's in Valparaiso

Velero's is one of the most authentic Mexican restaurants I've ever visited, a real gem hidden in Valparaiso, Indiana.  The Mariscada Veleros shown below is a combination of grilled octopus, calamari, shrimp and fish sauteed in Habanero aioli and served with saboy slaw and tortillas.  You can check out the rest of the fantastic menu at this link.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Opening Line

When I give speeches or presentations I often introduce myself as "the son of two actors, an engineer and a cheerleader."  It's obvious from that statement that both of my parents were actors, but you would be wrong to apply the usual stereotypes to which one probably does the others.  Actually, my father was both the engineer and the cheerleader, and both at the University of Dayton.  It helps get my audience's attention and that what I'm going to say might be a little different from what they might expect.  Also, it's usually good for a chuckle or two.

My parents belonged to the Blackfriars Guild, a local acting company that existed back in the 1950s and 1960s.  The lucky little guy below was selected to play the part of a ring bearer in one of their plays.  Might be the last time I ever wore a bowtie.