Last week, I visited my family in Texas. I had a great time, of course, seeing both my brothers and my father, not to mention my stepmother. They're all always in fine form.
My brother, Dan, is on the Atkins Diet like me (as is his wife, Debby). Well, not like me, because he's more faithful to the diet than I am. But he sure showed me some additional ways to help me stay on the "straight and narrow," not the least of which was by making homemade ice cream. Zowee! That's some good stuff, and pretty much indistinguishable from the "non-Atkins" sort.
Dan is also very skilled at barbecuing on his smoker (you know, the kind that looks like a 55-gallon drum lying on its side, with a separate firebox attached to one end and a chimney at the other end). I've had this kind of smoker for several years, but I've never used it much and I've never been very happy with the results of my efforts on it. Dan has really showed me how to do it, though. I smoked a roast on Memorial Day, along with some salmon. The roast was fantastic, the salmon was pretty good, but a little dry. I still had some "heat management" issues, but I'm going to keep at it so I can get it down pat.
My oldest brother and his wife, Dick and Judy, are on a variant of the Atkins Diet. As far as I could tell, it's the standard low-carb Atkins Diet, with a twist: for one hour a day, you can eat what you like, whether it's on the diet on not. I haven't seen anything like this before, but it makes a certain amount of sense because you don't feel "starved" for things that you routinely deny yourself.
Dad and Rusty are the same as ever. It's always such a pleasure to visit with them. Although I tried to get Rusty to just cook whatever she wanted to and don't worry about my diet, she still worked hard to make the meals low-carb. It's always great to reminisce with Dad, look through the old pictures from my youth, etc.
So that's the latest with me. I don't expect I'll have another 3-week hiatus; my computer's back to full health. I might actually do something with my photos soon!
Okay, maybe not. But it's definitely a possibility!
Yesterday morning on the way to work, I heard on the radio that severe weather had passed through Missouri, Arkansas, and I thought I heard Tennessee in there, but I didn't catch all of it. Once I got to my desk, I started poking through the latest news to confirm if Tennessee had been affected. I found that tornados had hit Kansas pretty hard, but I didn't see anything on Tennessee. Obviously I wasn't paying close enough attention.
Last night I got a call from my ex-wife in Lexington, TN, asking if I had heard about the storms. This was my first clue that maybe my quick search that morning wasn't quite as thorough as necessary. Melissa told me that tornados had ripped through Jackson (the near-by "big town"), killing several people, demolishing the main Post Office, and had also come into Lexington. The Johnson Controls plant in Lexington (what locals call "the metal plant") had its roof blown off, and homes just to the north of it were destroyed. The metal plant is less than a mile north of Melissa's house, so the tornado was very close by. Several trees in the neighborhood, including a huge, stately oak at her father's house, were uprooted by the wind. She and our two kids, Kristin and Sean, and Sean's girlfriend April huddled in the bathroom while the storm passed. While the worst of the weather bypassed them, they didn't get much sleep that night.
Lesson learned: don't depend on MSN.com for your "bad weather" news stories.
We had an intersting weekend. I played in a company golf tournament on Saturday. It was my first time out on the golf course this year, and the rust was pretty obvious. Our team ended up in second place, though very little of that was due to my contribution. The other three members of my foursome were much better than me, fortunately for us.
Sunday brought a busy afternoon. Nicholas went to one of his friends' 7th Birthday party, and they went to a nearby Laser Tag place. They all had a great time there. While he was at the party, I went to a Skywarn Advisory Meeting for the local Sterling, VA, Skywarn program. I've just started with that program so I couldn't really contribute much, but it gave me an opportunity to meet some of the people I talk to on the radio.
While Nicholas and I were off on our own activities, Megan and Lisa went to the George Mason University Patriot Center for a demonstation by the South Korean national Tae Kwon Do team. They really enjoyed their outing.
Foremost on my mind right now: coincidentally, today is my sister-in-law's birthday, so I want to say "Happy Birthday, Karen!" Discretion being the better part of valor, I'll refrain from mentioning her age. She's younger than me, but that's not saying much.
Well, here we go. I'm not sure what I'm going to put in here, or why. I have the hope that maybe blogging my thoughts (such as they are) will help me sort out my thoughts and crystallize my opinions. Maybe it will allow my readers to understand me better. Maybe it will allow me to understand me better. We'll see how it develops.