Category Archives: Bethany

Badlands Vol. 5

The final set of pictures from my brief sojourn through the Badlands with my Mom:


The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

That is it. That is the last of the Badlands pictures. Still have plenty of pictures from my trip to South Dakota to publish though. I’ll get through them all, some day.

+++++++++++++++

Actually that isn’t it. I’d like to thank everybody that wished me a happy birthday on Friday.

I believe this to be the entire list:

-Mom
-Jesse
-Michelle
-Teresa
-Dawn
-Nate
-Bethany
-Logan
-Shannon
-Becca
-Sara Lockner
-Stephanie
-Sarah Karber
-Colleen
-Micky
-Laura
-Aunt Linda
-Jay
-Faust
-Monica
-Andree
-Becky

Thanks for all the birthday wishes. It was a perfectly adequate birthday. I didn’t go to work. I got to do some tenderloining. I took some pictures. I hung out with my favorite dog in the world and one of my other favorite dogs in the world. I also watched ROAD HOUSE.

The movie that perfected throat ripping and had so many great lines like:

You know, I heard you had balls big enough to come in a dump truck, but you don’t look like much to me.

You’re too stupid to have a good time.

Take the biggest guy in the world, shatter his knee and he’ll drop like a stone.

I got married to an ugly woman. Don’t ever do that. It just takes the energy right out of you. She left me, though. Found somebody even uglier than she was. That’s life. Who can explain it?

Calling me sir is like putting an elevator in an outhouse. It don’t belong.

That gal’s got entirely too many brains to have an ass like that.

This place has a sign hangin’ over the urinal that says, “Don’t eat the big white mint”.

And of course

Pain don’t hurt.

If you missed your chance to celebrate my birth, you have one more chance. Next Sunday night is the Union Street Theater’s monthly movie night. Here are the movies for the double feature:


Movie Night

I chose the movies this month (instead of the usual committee that picks the movies) since it is my birth month. If you are wondering why I picked KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, then do you really know me at all.

I picked REAR WINDOW because I love that movie, it is directed by Hitchcock, it is about a photographer, the photographer is dating Grace Kelly, and it is is the best movie ever made about a photographer.

A close second is BLOW-UP. Right Jay and Jesse?

Projector rolls at 6 PM. I’m not sure if there will be any special treats for that night. We’ll see.

Miller Estate Auction

This is one of probably 2 entries for An Artist’s Notebook about my Saturday morning last. This is about the later part of my morning, but you must know a little bit about the early morning to understand how this strange turn of events happened.

The earliest part of my morning was spent at Dickcissel Park with Naima. Things there went slightly sideways and I ended up having to be late for my normal Saturday morning breakfast with my Mom. We normally breakfast at The Whistle Stop Cafe because they have tasty pancakes (and I’m what you would call an expert on tasty pancakes #pancakelife), good service, and they are literally the only breakfast game in town since The Legal Limit shuttered their doors.

I mean, a person could lower themselves to eating at The Avenue of the Saints Cafe, but it is the answer to the age old question:

Is it possible to make something worse than Golden Corral?

Answer: Yes, The Avenue of the Saints Cafe.

The main drawback to The Whistle Stop Cafe is that it is tiny. There are maybe 4 booths, a couple of tables thrown up on the side, and maybe 10 or so counter stools. When we drove by the Whistle Stop Cafe, we were saddened to see that it was overflowing with customers. We needed a new plan.

We decided to head out to the Don Williams Clubhouse. It is about a 15 mile drive from Boone, but it served breakfast and it is under new management. We wanted to see if the new management has game.

The easiest way to get from the Whistle Stop to Don Williams is to head by Water Works and on past Fraser. However, on Wednesday night, Carla contacted me to let me know that there was a flock of swans (possibly) at the J. Carlson Wildlife area, between Boone and Ogden.

On Wednesday night I went out there and had a peek. It turned out that it wasn’t a bevy. It was a brief or a pod or a pouch or a scoop or a squadron. It was a group of pelicans is what I was getting at. On Wednesday I efforted to get a photo of them, but I couldn’t get a good angle on them.

On Thursday, I went back. They were gone. However, I did get a photo of an egret, so not all was lost.

On Saturday morning, I decided to take Old 30 to Ogden and then up County Road P70 to Don Williams to see if those pelicans had returned. They were, but none of that is important to the story.

Due to the chosen route, we picked up Carla and made our way towards breakfast.

On our way through Ogden, at the intersection of Old 30 and P70, we stumbled across a sizable auction. My people have auction in their blood from way back*. Possibly why I had a cousin once state:

I’m impressed how well you and your siblings turned out, considering the white trash you come from. #neverforget

But you know that he has the complete and utter moral ground to make statements like that. It isn’t like he ever ended up in prison or anything like that. I can’t hate.

While my tummy made the decision that we didn’t have time to stop at this auction at this time, there was little doubt that we would hit this auction on our way back to drop Carla off at her home.

Breakfast went fine. The new management serves a tasty breakfast. My one critique would be that portion sizes are somewhat small. However, the small portion sizes are reflected in the prices. The 3 of us ate breakfast for something like 18 dollars, American.

On the way back we stopped at the auction and this is where things got a little bit strange.

As I was walking around the auction, I noticed that some of the stuff seemed a little familiar. There was a Patio Pros (represent!) car in the driveway. There was a ton of plumbing and heating and cooling type stuff in the auction.

I began to suspect that this was an estate auction for Olivia’s Grandpa Dean. He passed away a few months back and I was a pallbearer at his funeral.

I saw Olivia’s cousin Jim there and approached him and he confirmed, this was indeed Grandpa Dean’s Estate Auction.

I took a few photos while I was there:


Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

Miller Estate Auction

I never would’ve stumbled upon this auction IF:

+There weren’t pelicans at the J. Carlson Wildlife Area on Wednesday.
+If the pelicans would’ve been there on Thursday.
+If Naima hadn’t decided to do something stupid on Saturday morning.
+If the Whistle Stop Cafe wasn’t super packed.
+If Carla didn’t move out between Boone and Ogden.
+If the Don Williams Clubhouse hadn’t just re-opened for the season.

It was not the Saturday morning I envisioned when I closed my eyes and went off to slumberland on Friday night.

I didn’t buy anything, but Carla purchased a few nuggets. Grandpa Dean had his own plumbing business. Carla purchased a whole package of his business calendars from 1975 and 1976. Never opened. I’ll be giving some of those to Nate and Bethany next time I see them.

*I was almost born at the Hillbilly Auction after all.

Brunswick-Balke Collender Cup Experience

The last collection of photos from my last trip to Minnesota are of my trip to the Super Bowl Experience with Dae Hee, Bethany, and Nora.


Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience
Paul Bunyan!

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience
Eagle fans are the worst!

Super Bowl Experience
America’s Team – I guess when I force myself to care about the NFL, they are my favorite. But I’m embarrassed by that.

Super Bowl Experience
Best helmet in the NFL.

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience
I don’t actually know who these people are.

Super Bowl Experience
Lindsey Czarniak!

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Experience
Strangely, never a line for the Packers photo op.

It was 35 large to go to the Super Bowl Experience. Probably wasn’t worth it, but it was cool. Would’ve been cool if it wasn’t so busy and if Nora was older. But I’m sure the Super Bowl will never come to Kansas City or Green Bay or Chicago or Minnesota again for at least 40 more years. C’est la vie!

By What My Eyes Have Seen

On Super Bowl Sunday, DaeHee and I checked out part of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. It was -2 degrees. Bethany and Nora just circled the block in the car. Here are a few photos:


Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

There were two big disappointments with the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

#1. You weren’t allowed to go inside the ice castle. It was for external viewing only.
#2. The fried cheese curd stand wasn’t open. Apparently -2 degrees is too cold for them. Lame. Take some pride in the craft.

But other than that I’d almost recommend going to part of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

I Left You by the House of Fun

I went up to Minnesota for the Super Bowl. Well, not really for the Super Bowl, but more for the activities surrounding the Super Bowl. I can’t afford a ticket to the Super Bowl. I work at the Computer Mine, not Goldman Sachs or some other place populated by white collar criminals.

I thought I’d share a few pictures of Nora from the weekend:


Nora - Super Bowl Weekend - 2018

Nora - Super Bowl Weekend - 2018

Nora - Super Bowl Weekend - 2018

Nora - Super Bowl Weekend - 2018

Nora - Super Bowl Weekend - 2018

Nora - Super Bowl Weekend - 2018

Nora - Super Bowl Weekend - 2018

Nora - Super Bowl Weekend - 2018

Nora - Super Bowl Weekend - 2018

Nora - Super Bowl Weekend - 2018

She has the strange quality of getting cuter every time I see her.

I did experience a strange bit of luck on the way back from Minnesota on Monday morning. But the story starts several weeks back.

In early January I put my car in the ditch for the first time in my life. I was running late for my shift at the Computer Mine and was driving a little too fast and hit a slippery spot of road and that was all she wrote. At the time, I thought this was karma catching up to me for years of driving by cars in the ditch and pointing and laughing, but maybe that wasn’t it.

Maybe, just maybe, rather than being punished, I was being warned.

You see, ever since I put my car in the ditch, I’ve been driving slower in wintry conditions. Monday morning, I-35 was just such a set of conditions.

I left Burnsville and heading back to the Cyclone State at about 8:30 or 9 AM or so. The first hour or so out of the Twin Cities the roads weren’t bad and there wasn’t any weather to talk about. I was making good time and I figured that I’d make it back to Ames to starting swinging my pick by about 11:30 or so.

Then when I hit Iowa, the weather started to get a little sketch. The road was still in decent shape, but white out conditions would hit every few minutes. I stopped at the rest area in Dows to drain my bladder and grab a road trippers lunch. Gas station pizza.

I hit the road and the conditions got worse and worse. Due to the white out conditions I slowed way down. Soon I became the slowest car on the road.

When I hit the Story City area the roads got way worse. I was actually beginning to fantasize about not going to the mine at all. Just blowing by and going home. Calling it a day before my day even started.

Then I got to the 13th street exit in Ames. The roads got way worse. Then there was a complete white out. I slowed down to about 15 miles per hour. When I came out of the white out, I saw a scene that looked like the zombie apocalypse. There was about 20 cars in the ditches or the shoulder or facing the wrong way or clearly damaged and driving backwards on the shoulder. There was enough of an opening in the carnage that I was able to skate through and continue on to work.

Once there I saw news stories that the area I had skated through had went from 20 cars to a massive 70 car pile up.

Here is a screen capture from the DOT Camera:




Here is the video (you have to be on the website to watch the video):




The video starts about 5 minutes after I went through this area. You can’t quite make out where the beginning of this pileup starts.

I take from this, that I was very glad that put my car in the ditch a few weeks ago, because my Monday could have ended up being really bad.

Relationship Goals

I hope all of you had a marvelous Thanksgiving weekend! I had a particularly great Thanksgiving weekend myself.

On Thursday morning I got up and went down to the church (Boone First United Methodist represent!) to take photos of our annual Thanksgiving. This is the second year in a row I’ve photographed the event. From the initial looks, I’d say that we served more than double what we served the previous year.

After hanging with the church family, I went to my Mom’s house for my family Thanksgiving. As usual, it was great. As usual Mom’s cooking was on point. Teresa’s French Silk Pie was delicious as usual. We watched SING and Alexis put up the Christmas tree.

Friday I got up and did some G33 classified business, but it was lots of fun. Even though the cheating was even more rampant than usual.

At noon I went to the Wal-Mart and rang the bell for the Salvation Army. One of my favorite things to do every year. For the people watching aspect alone.

Friday night I went to Boxholm and had a supper prepared by Becca and Bethany. It was kind of a surreal experience because we had the meal in Shorty and Doris’ home. All their stuff is still there, but now their stuff is accented with Tim’s style. Which isn’t bad, but it is weird. However, Bethany and Becca rocked the meal. Turkey and duck?!? Insane!

Saturday morning Dae Hee and I hit the road for Manhattan to see Nate and Laura, plus watch the Iowa State Cyclones battle the Kansas State Wildcats in football. On the way down there we stopped at a Waffle House in St. Joe’s because we were hungry and I love me some Waffle House. However, the Waffle House experience was marred with tragedy. I was mistaken for an Iowa Hawkeye fan by a group of Nebraska fans. It took me awhile to figure out that they had mistaken me for such a low beast as a Hawkeye fan because I was blatantly dressed like a Cyclone fan. It just put a pall on the entire experience. I couldn’t even properly enjoy the road waffle that Waffle House generously gifted us.

The rest of the trip to Manhattan went without incident. Mostly Dae Hee sleeping and me explaining every song of HAMILTON to a sleeping Dae Hee.

We lunched at a place called Bourbon & Baker. It is a small plate restaurant and I would recommend it. I’d highly recommend their chicken and waffles and that isn’t just my love for waffles speaking. #wafflelife

After lunch Nate and Laura dropped us off at Vampire Stadium. Nate scored us great free seats from some old retired professor dude. We sat on the 40 yard line in actual seats. Other than them being in literally the smallest rows in the history of rows and being surrounded by Purple Kansans, it was a great experience. Until the 4th quarter. When all of a sudden it was as if the Vampire had called up Bill Self and asked to borrow his personal refs.

I’m not blaming the loss on the refs. Iowa State certainly aided Purple Kansas with horrible play calling, but I can say with 100% certainty, I’ve NEVER seen a time where the referees threw 3 flags on one team and picked them all up. Not in an entire season. Not in an entire game. Not in an entire half. Not in an entire quarter. Definitely not in a 5 minute period.

What particularly hurt is when Kansas State blatantly interfered with Iowa State’s all-world receiver Allen Lazard. The refs threw the flag, because it was pretty blatant. Then got together. Picked up the flag and then tried to pretend that they were decent human beings, which they obviously are not. If they make the correct call there, the game is over and Iowa State leaves Manhattan with a victory and all is right in the world.

But I think this tweet by Lazard really puts a comedic spin on the deal:


Relationship Goals

What made the loss almost worse is the fact that Purple Kansans are so incredibly nice. At least 15 of them came up to me or Dae Hee to thank us for coming to their stadium. To tell us that we have a great team. It was a great game. In my state of mind at the time, I almost would’ve preferred an obnoxious Hawkeye or Husker or Jayhawk fan.

I’m pissed. Don’t be nice to me.

After the wave of Purple Kansas Nice finally finished washing over us, Nate and Laura picked us up and Road Rage Laura took us to dinner at the Taphouse. Another Manhattan eatery I would recommend. Their Korean Wings are delicious. Their house brewed root beer was good, but not great. Very strangely they served it on ice. Must be a Purple Kansas thing.

Then the final twist of the knife came when I got a snap from somebody that was eating pizza from The Adobe. I’ve been badly hankering for some pizza from The Adobe for quite some time now. I guess that is my own fault for not just going myself.

After dinner I cashed in my chips and called it a night. I was physically and emotionally drained.

Nate got a text in the morning from Bethany that Nora was sick. We decided to skip breakfast and hit the road.

On the way out of town we stopped at Manhattan Hill. 8 AM. The only people there were Cyclone fans. It was universally agreed upon that we were all still pissed. We hopped in the car and headed home. That little Manhattan Hill therapy session definitely helped my mood a bit.

But I really brought you here to share some photos from church’s Thanksgiving meal:






































































































The church server 521 meals on Thanksgiving! What an incredible blessing!

Won’t Take that Credit; I know Where We Get It; Them Blessings Be Comin’ from God Above

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Rather than my standard picture of an inflatable turkey, thought (with apologies to Lecrae, I’d give thanks for some of the many blessings in my life.

Count it up, count it up, count it up.
Line ’em up, line ’em up, line ’em up.


Bennett 2017 Family Photo
Blessed with a tremendous biological family. Blessed to share DNA and a life with these people.


Blessed to be a part of Olivia’s family. Blessed to learn a new definition of the word “family” from Shorty and Doris.

Mission Trip  - Day 0
Blessed to be a part of an incredible church family. From Youth Group to Methodist Men to the people I see in the pews on Sundays.

Thanksgiving - 2017
Blessed to have a job and double blessed to have a great work family. 7 AM comes pretty early, but so many of the people I work with make the struggle worth the effort.


Blessed to share a life with this band of brothers. Not one of us has any fashion sense, but I’d still take a bullet for any of them.


Blessed to fit in with this band of sisters as well.

Movie Club
Blessed to be able to share my love of weird cinema with like minded individuals once a month.

October 28, 2017
Blessed to be a Cyclone and double blessed to have somebody to share so many trips to Jack Trice (a spiritual place for me) with.


Blessed to have a roof over my head that belongs to me. Blessed that I can extend that roof over friends and family when their life needs it. Blessed that when I say, “Want to help paint by house?” 20+ people show up.


Blessed that friends from past jobs are still important pillars of my current life.

The Howard Children
Blessed that people that aren’t related to me consider me an uncle to them.

August 15, 2017
Blessed to have a car that I can drive out of town and not worry about the tire falling off.


Blessed to have so many people in my life that when I say, “I’m coming to your city”, they say, “You’re staying with us right?”

Tenderloining at Nick's
Blessed to have so many people in my life that fill gaps.

Selfie Project - March 5
Blessed that even though I’m aged, I still healthy enough to still ball. Although pretty poorly these days.

Selfie Project - January 27
Blessed that even though I’m aged, I still have people in my life that keep me young.

Selfie Project - January 21
Blessed to have people in my life that want to change the world for the better, when I get cynical.

Selfie Project -January 14
Blessed to have art in my life.

May 25, 2017
Blessed to have a beautiful beard. Even if the old guys at my church hate it.


Blessed to have people who will help with projects like this, no questions asked.

Photo of the Day 0003 - May 5, 2014
Blessed to share a life and a domicile with this crazy beast. Teaches me about selfless love every single day.

June 28, 2017
Blessed to have a chance to spread my blessings to others, sometimes, with some of my favorite people.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of my blessings. But I don’t want it to start to sound like I’m bragging.

My Minnesota Spirit Animal

Back in August I went up to Minnesota to visit some of my favorite peeps, but I also had an ulterior motive. For years I’ve driven up to the Twin Cities area and just south of Lakeville I would come across a strange collection of sculptures on the east side of I-35. I’ve never been able to figure out how to get there. Or for that matter, what it even was.

This trip to Minnesota I vowed to crack the mystery. Before supper Bethany, Nora, and Dae Hee and I and a sense of wonderment loaded up into a vehicle and tried to solve the mystery… and solve the mystery, we did.

After some wrong turns we finally located the source of the wonderful mystery sculptures. The source was Hot Sam’s Antiques and Foto Park. For $10 your party could take as many cruddy cell phone pictures as you wanted. It was $25 for an actual camera-camera.

We plunked down the Hamilton and wandered and wondered around the Minnesota magical wonderland that is Sam’s Foto Park. Here are some cell phone pictures from this wondrous adventure:


Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park
Dino Bustin’

Hot Sam's Foto Park
So this is what happened to the bus from TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE


Hot Sam's Foto Park
Dae Hee in Repose

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park
Nora LOVED this car!

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park
#outhousesofinstagram

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park
I both love and am creeped out by old industrial trucks!

Hot Sam's Foto Park
This is a fence of nightmares!

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park
Worst Pixar movie ever! Not counting the worse sequels.

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park


Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park
Plan 9 from Outer Space?

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park
You know this would look amazing in my yard!

Hot Sam's Foto Park
My birthday is 7 months away… If you start saving now…

Hot Sam's Foto Park

Hot Sam's Foto Park

You can have Disneyland. Give me Hot Sam’s Foto Park. Every day of the week and… wait for it…. thrice on Sundays!!