It’s cold and gray outside, and it’s making me tired and grouchy.

Only one way to handle a crappy day: Work on a Route 66 project.

Fortunately, I have one brewing. Rich Henry, proprietor of Henry’s Ra66it Ranch on Route 66 in Staunton, Illinois, mentioned on the Yahoo! group the other day that he was looking for a volunteer to paint a Rainbow Bridge mural on the side of his building. I told him I might know a girl. :)

I can’t drive two and a half hours in the dark to go paint a mural in the rain right this second, but a cold Monday evening seems as good a time as any to get out some colored pencils and work up a rough sketch.



Vegan Friday: Buffalo cauliflower monstrosity

I don’t have a recipe for you this week, because I don’t want to subject you to the horror that was yesterday evening’s dinner.

I had some good ideas for dinner last night, but I didn’t have the ingredients on hand for any of them, so I went rifling through the PETA website and came up with a monstrosity called “Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings.”

Trust me: They look way better than they taste.
These look OK, but trust me: They’re as awful as they sound. Kind of like chocolate-chip hummus or black-bean brownies.

I’d seen that recipe several times on Pinterest, and I kept passing it up on the grounds that it sounded like something you’d take to an office potluck. If you wanted to make sure your office never, ever had a potluck again.

I tried it last night.

I am not posting a recipe.

Because it tastes like something you’d take to an office potluck. If you wanted to make sure your office never, ever had a potluck again.


Folk Thursday: The Blizzard

Did I post this last winter? Probably. It’s still gorgeous.

I wish I could say the same for that dress. Ma’am. I realize you are tiny enough to wear things you found in the children’s department, but that does not mean you should.

Ah, well. The ’80s were a time of questionable fashion choices for all of us. And some of us are going to take a little time this evening to thank God ours weren’t videotaped for posterity, because I am pretty sure that while this concert was being recorded, I was in my best friend’s basement, playing Epyx Winter Games and eating Schwan pops in acid-washed bluejeans and a T-shirt at least four sizes too big for me … so, y’know, glass houses, I guess.


I’m tired.

I don’t have anything terribly inspirational or exciting to share today. I had an idea I might make some Christmas candy and finish up a sewing project when I got home, but I ended up staying at the office until after 10, working on a story and graphic for Friday, and by the time I finished, I was too wiped out to make anything more complicated than a grilled-cheese sandwich, which I had with a bowl of tomato soup I warmed up.

In unrelated news, I need to find a better feeder for the quail. The one they have gets water in it every time it rains, despite the fact that their coop has a roof that’s caulked and everything. I have no idea what they’re doing in there. I’m thinking a standard birdfeeder like you use for wild songbirds might work, assuming I can find one short enough to fit in there. Outdoor birdfeeders are designed to be pretty water-resistant. We’ll see what I can rustle up next time I’m at the feed store.


Update nearly done

I’m basically three phone calls away from having all the old entries updated for the 2015 edition of Route 66 for Kids, which I hope to have available on Kindle by January. Still playing with the idea of a print edition. I may run the idea by the Route 66 Yahoo! group and see how much enthusiasm I get.

Somewhere along the line, I must have miscounted my entries, because I could have sworn there were 166, but after removing a half-dozen that closed since the last update, I still have 175. Odd.

In addition to wrapping up the text updates, I spent a little time making Christmas candy today. I didn’t get a whole lot done, but I made a batch of fudge that was a riff on a recipe I’ve used before. Not sure how well it turned out, but we’ll see. I also made a batch of Reese cup bars, which were very quick and easy to throw together, and the caramel for the turtles should be juuuuust about finished, so I can work on that project and the peppermint bark tomorrow. I bought ingredients for coconut candy, too, which I’ll probably make tomorrow night.

When I finish the book update, I need to look into redesigning some websites. Route66Motels.com has never been updated (and looks like it), and I think the last redesign I did for Kidson66.com was in 2007 or something. I distinctly remember using GoLive! and my old Mac, so it’s obviously been a while.


Project update

W00t! Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I’ve updated seven states’ worth of entries in Route 66 for Kids since Wednesday, and I fully expect to get through the California entries tomorrow. So far, I’ve only found five places I’ll have to call to confirm hours. That’s a huge change since I wrote the first edition in 2003, when very few businesses were online, and I found myself sitting on the floor of our office in Belleville, making more than 100 phone calls to places all the way from Wilmington, Illinois, to Pasadena, California.

Over the years, I’ve noticed an enormous uptick in not only the number of websites, but also the quality. A few still lack critical information such as hours or admission prices, and a handful are too clever and cumbersome for their own good (Grand Canyon Railway, I’m lookin’ at you), but I’ve gone through 146 entries, and so far, only seven have lacked functional websites with all the information I needed. Of those, two had websites that were just missing information but included valid email addresses I was able to use to secure information quickly; one was a drive-in movie theater and amusement park that had replaced its usual website with a single page announcing it was closed for the season and would reopen in April; one had lost its domain name; one had everything except its hours posted online; and only two lacked an online presence altogether.

It really amazes me to see how far we’ve come in 11 years.


Sustainability on a shoestring


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