Thanksgiving Break


It was very nice to slow things down at home and spend more time with family after two marathon days/nights of conferences at school.

Instead of driving through the night to Kansas, which is what we did on our last road trip with Basil (to Chicago), we drove during the daytime and he did wonderfully.  I also stayed much more awake, which was a benefit.  As is our road trip routine, we found an interesting place to stop along the way.  Previously we had stopped to see a tree in the middle of the road.  This time we chose to see a similar site, but instead of an old tree in an intersection, it was an old cemetery (with a tree):

Note the cars driving around what is a functional roundabout with graves from the previous turn of the century.

On we drove to Kansas.  We all had a great time, but Elizabeth and I were most happy to see how much Basil got along with his Papou Sam and Yiayia Brooke.

He got to read books that his Yiayia read to me when I was a little tyke.

Basil enjoyed the Papou… and the cake.

He also took advantage of the warm weather and the big backyard

Which also included some nearby deer sightings:

Basil didn’t need binoculars, but the camera did.  They were easy to see with the naked eye in the nearby cornfield, but they scattered after Basil expressed his desire to go back inside rather loudly.

While in Kansas we visited Theotokos “Unexpected Joy” Orthodox Church in Ash Grove, MO.  It was a very small church but we had a great time with them (1.5 hour drive to this nearest Orthodox church).

Later during our visit we visited the nearby ruins of St. Aloysius Church, home to some ancient Kansas history…

We also visited nearby St. Paul, KS.  Here’s a photo comparison with our new hometown.

Post office:

Public Library:

City Hall:

Fire Department:

No wonder so many people confuse them!  St. Paul does have some nice vistas:

And with Minneapolis, KS, there is quite a competition with the Twin Cities!

(photo from a 2005 road trip)

After our wonderful visit in Kansas, we stopped to see a steam shovel in Missouri on our way home.  After having visited Big Brutus in Kansas and Big Muskie in Ohio, we had to see what was billed online as the “world’s largest coal shovel“: Big Mouth.

Here’s the comparison.

Big Brutus:

Big Muskie:

Big Mouth:

Can you say pathetic?  Like Big Muskie, the rest of the shovel was absent, which really makes Big Brutus the king in the end.

They even put a little shovel beside Big Mouth to make it look bigger:

At this site, however, Basil was fortunate enough to not only see his first real moving train,

but also to get up on one!

On the way home, Elizabeth made Basil a new hat:

Yiayia Brooke bought us two nice presents for my birthday:

The bread book is a sequel to a fantastic bread book Basil’s Nouno, John, bought me a long time ago:

This new book is about whole grain breads only.  We will probably start making 100% whole wheat breads from now on for health purposes – and because it will be the way to go after we get our grain mill, whenever that might happen…

The first recipe tried was for graham crackers, but we substituted water for milk to make them vegan.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend making that change, but they did taste good!

While they were baking, I practiced some Hank Williams songs on this old guitar I brought back from Kansas.  Papou Sam says it’s the guitar his dad used to play him lullabies, such as the Crawdad Song.

(Unfortunately I just broke a string)

That was intersession.  Now I’m a week into school again and after two more weeks it will be Christmas break.  We’re excited to be the hosts this time for Yiayia Brooke and Papou Sam, and I enjoy these breaks during a year-round schedule!



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4 Responses to “Thanksgiving Break”

  1. lilagreer Says:

    Look at that Saint Paul analysis! Very thorough.

    And Basil’s looking great in that hat! Wow!

    I have gotten really into this whole grains cookbook, Good to the Grain ( ), which I have on perpetual renewal from the public library. I’m liking buckwheat flour, especially. And when you tire of breads and crackers (and when the fast is over), try these, from the book: !

  2. Basil's Fans in SF Says:

    Eric – happy belated birthday! Sorry I missed it.

    It made my night to see these pictures of my dear sweet nephew… and the rest of you of course. Stella is very into vehicles of all types, especially choo choos, so she and Basil will have a lot of catching up to do at Christmas regarding this, and other, adventures.

  3. vagueperson Says:

    Katina, thank you. There is an old train set here from your Papou Phillip they can play with when she arrives, though I sometimes hesitate because of its age (so it’s in the closet right now).

    Lila, we’ll check into that book, though it will take me a while to digest the new book I’ve got right now – not a lot of time for me to cook these days, as you might experience with John. I have read about soaking the grains, and this book often has one creating a “soaker” with the flour as a preliminary step. Chocolate chip cookies will have to wait.

  4. yia-yia brooke Says:

    So many great pics! This was a great blog and I know I was late in catching it. I have been very busy with classes, groups and house! How I miss my BASIL! I can’t wait to see you at Christmas, but you guys live in the ARCTIC! What’s up with that, Basil??

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