Saturday, July 16, 2016

Defeat the heat with birds and presidents and BBQ

Work is overwhelming lately so I haven't been able to run as much as I'd like.  I anticipate that it will settle down in mid-August. I'm finally learning expectation management and that I may not need to do everything all at once.  As you know, if everything is a priority...nothing is a priority.  My problem is that I can't leave work at work, so if I don't accomplish my entire to-do list, I bring it home in my cranium.  That's not really fair to anyone, so I'm trying to do better.  I also like to study on weekends, weirdo, I know!

My bird watching continues and we run through about 5 lbs of sunflower seed in a few days.  It's so very relaxing to peek at them through our windows as I pass by in our tiny hallway.  We thought we'd placed the feeder perfectly to deter the squirrels, but as you can guess they outsmarted us in just about 48 hours.  D moves the feeder every few days to discourage their loitering. It's not working.  I don't mind, and the birds aren't exactly starving.  It's a tenable backyard peace.

Mr Goldfinch has a stink eye for you
Even through the steamy and condensing window glass, I snapped a pair of goldfinches and their black-capped chickadee pal, snacking heartily.  My favorite part is that I'm learning the particular feeding habits of these garden birds.  Cardinals sit and hang out, as do goldfinches.  The downy woodpeckers perch upside down and peck upwards, and the warblers are more of the grab-and-go proclivity.  Sparrows arrive in packs of 3-5, and will ground forage for spilled seeds, but get along amiably with everyone else.  

 Recently I visited the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO.  Say what you will about President Truman, the tour guide, library, grounds and museum were across the board outstanding.  I spent about 2 hours there, and could have filled an entire afternoon.  My favorite part?  The acknowledged contention of Truman's decisions.  I'm impressed they didn't shy away from it in order to gild his presidency.  Korea, atomic bombs, these are not decisions I would have wanted to face, either, but they were well-presented.

On my short timeline I had to skip a lot of his personal history exhibits, but I did learn about his hard luck and humble beginnings.  He'd tried and stumbled and even failed at several endeavors before entering politics - what would we think about that today?

Yes, you'll see a Dewey Defeats Truman newspaper, there, too, and the infamous "The Buck Stops Here" desk plate.

Truman's office, after his presidency

A recreation of the oval office during Truman's tenure - replicated to 95%!
 Well worth a trip, even if you are not a history buff.  I'm certainly not!  Go, though, even if it's to try out A Little Barbecue Joint just down the road.  The Truman-themed menu items are cute, but I am boring and had the chicken, which was a good value.  The beans were a real stand out.  Maybe I just really love beans?  I always order them and that's my yardstick (bean stick) for a good bbq meal.  At A Little Barbecue Joint, the sauces were on the runnier side, and definitely peppery in a tomato base.  I like mustard, cider, vinegar flavors better, but for a nice outdoor seating area, and great sandwich options, this place is hard to beat for a solid BBQ lunch.

I'm still DIYing things at home, and refronted our kitchen cabinets with lath strips, new hardware, and a slosh of Urbane Bronze paint.  I'll do the lowers in a bit:

Yes, that is the sum of our kitchen counterspace.  Yikes!
It looks a little refurbished, and when we repaint, I hope it will feel like a cabin and less like a low-end morgue.  Hate that metallic backsplash!

Here's the before, for comparison:
Not good.
It's a fun project and I can't do much damage with a total budget of about $30.  It's on pause, because my "workshop" (garage) gets so hot and humid that it's not much fun to be there on most summer days.

So for this weekend, I am studying, reading some research articles, heading for a run, and catching up with some colleagues for a BBQ dinner in KC.  D and I are going to try our hands at making our own pad thai tomorrow.  He's been getting into crossfit lately so we'll probably catch up on a WOD or two at some point.   

Finally, here's a pic of my bestie who has the pelt of a squeaky toy for you:

I'm an inside dog in the summer!
 Hope you are all finding ways to beat the heat!