Sunday, November 22, 2009


Porubsky's is a Topeka tradition. It was founded by a mother/son combination. The grandson of the son just received a grant to film a documentary on the store and tavern. I've eaten there twice (open for lunch only these days). I wanted Wilma to experience it so we went to eat there before we went to see the film. This place is known for chili and simple sandwiches. Unfortunately, they were out of chili, so we need to go back later. But we ate the cold plate, which is a plate of bread, cheese and meat and you assemble. Very small place but rich in community history. The store is on the left, tavern on the right. It's a small Russian German immigrant community with the major local employer being Santa Fe railroad, yards and maintenance shops. The mother and son are both dead now and the future of the store and tavern is uncertain. The culture that created and sustained it has changed so much that it probably won't make it in the long run.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

More Business Travel

Note: This post has a landscape orientation for the first two pages, which makes it tough to post here. You just need to jump pages to read the text.

I had a trip to Denver for a meeting with other engineers from other companies. The meeting itself wasn't very sketch-worthy, but I had one night on the town and went to an outdoor gear store and a couple coffee houses. Our first jobs after we got married were in the Denver area, 27 years ago, so it's like a visit with an old friend after a long absence. The mountains to the west had their white dusting of snow, typical for this time of year.

As with any place we've lived, there are things I miss and things I don't miss about living here. Guess I need to focus on the good things about where ever I'm at.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Engine Work

Small job on the Corolla. Took a while before it dawned on me that the temperature guage wasn't indicating proper temperature. I diagnosed the thermostat after looking it over. Never replaced one before but it's a smaller job so I took it on. Now I have great joy watching the temperature guage move up to medium and I know all is well because of something I fixed. Just like when I apply the brakes I know they are mine, too. The simple joys of a weekend mechanic. Didn't even need to use one cuss word on this job, either.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Just For Fun

Had some fun over the last week. Entered a promotional competition at Starbucks for their new VIA instant coffee product. Made a 2-minute video and posted it on and ( and titled "Using Starbucks VIA in the Kansas Wilderness"). Also entered a recipe for a hot drink I put together ( and titled "Wilderness Latte"). No way I'll win in a national competition, but it was fun doing it and I got my 5 minutes of fame by having it visible on the Starbucks website.