2023 Week 19 – Giddy Up
I Spent most of last week on PTO in the Texas Hill Country and loved every minute of it. I flew down to San Antonio, picked up my better half, who was down there for work, and drove north to Comfort, TX, about 45 minutes northwest of the city.
When I booked the Trip, Enterprise had some very affordable options, including several premium models for just a little more than a full-sized car. I ended up with an Audi Q3 SUV for the trip and really enjoyed driving around the Texas roads. You’ll first notice the speed limits if you’ve never driven in Texas. On a 2-lane curvy road, the posted speed limit is often 10-20 MPH higher than in Indiana (70MPH +), and on the highway, it can be as high as 85 MPH. The little Audi was a champ and got surprisingly good gas mileage as we traveled between locations at speeds that sometimes felt too fast!
Our B&B (Hotel Giles) was an old hotel built in the late 1800s and was very nice, with covered porches and a gazebo in the back. Our host was very gracious and had a wonderful breakfast ready for us at 9 am sharp every morning. The town also had an amazing little wood-fired pizza shop in an old gas station down the street with delicious pizza and homemade gelato that was some of the best we had ever had.
Fredericksburg, TX, is often referred to as the Napa Valley of the South because of the number of wineries in the area (over 100), and it was our destination of choice for several days of the trip. Their Main Street was full of specialty shops, restaurants, breweries, and several wineries.
While this was the first time I’ve gotten out of San Antonio and visited TX Hill Country, it will NOT be the last. So many things to do, and in typical Texas fashion, the people are as nice as can be and openly welcome visitors to their great state.
SlapFish opened a new location in the Fishers District a few months ago, and we finally made our way over there for dinner. We ordered a Shrimp Roll and Fish and Chips. Both meals were very fresh and fairly priced (under $20 each) for the portion size. We don’t have any dedicated seafood restaurants in Fishers, so SlapFish is a welcome addition to which we will be returning soon!
And finally… I’m a pretty observant person, and I see a lot of crazy stuff on my daily travels to and from work in Indianapolis. Expired license plates are seen daily, and their sheer number makes me wonder how people are getting away with it. A quick search turned up a 2019 report from local TV station WRTV titled “Parking a car with expired tags or no license plate is illegal in Indianapolis.” It’s not a local issue, as a TV station out of Oregon reported something similar last May:
And Colorado less than a year ago:
2023 Week 17 – Buckle Up!
I had a pretty good week last week. I was only in the office for two days as I took advantage of two work-from-home days and attended a conference at the NCAA Hall of Fame. The HoF facility is very nice and full of sports history. I left the conference full of ideas related to my job and look forward to flushing them out to see if they can be implemented in my organization.
I don’t know what it is, but when I work from home on a Friday, Saturday always feels like Sunday for the first few hours of the morning. I know one thing when I work from home, I get SO much done! It’s probably because I rarely have meetings that day, and there are few interruptions.
I usually enter the weekend with a clear inbox and satisfaction that I made progress on my active projects (of which I typically have 25-40 at any time). In true Getting Things Done (GTD) style, I identify a “Project” as anything that takes more than one step to complete. The largest list I keep is my “Waiting For” list!
Try GTD if you…
- Feel overwhelmed by the amount of things you need to keep track of
- Worry about forgetting small details
- Wear lots of hats in your job and life
- Starts lots of projects but have trouble finishing them
- Have never GTD’d before (everyone should GTD at least once in their lives)
I’ve preached the gospel about the GTD organizational methodology for 20+ years. It’s what’s helped me succeed in business (and personal life) and sleep well at night, knowing that I didn’t let anything slip through the cracks that day. So if you feel you’re always forgetting things, a quick read of the GTD book might help!
Enough about work, on to my favorite pastime, food! I FINALLY made a takeout order from Futuro Pizza last week. When they first opened (during the Pandemic times), you had to order your pie a day or two in advance & not knowing my schedule (if I’d be working downtown or not), they fell off my radar.
Futuro was born of necessity. During the beginning of the covid19 shutdown, in an effort to find a way to feed our family, we began making and cooking pizza for our family and friends. Word spread like wildfire and before we knew it, we were cooking 50 pizzas a day. So, we decided to make a go of opening a brick and mortar restaurant.https://futuroindy.com
The owners have years of experience in the service industry & are making it a point to treat their employees fairly. I’ve seen several social media posts about how they care for their employees. I feel guilty that it’s taken me this long to try them!
Our first order was a Detroit Style Futuro Classic (they also have Chicago Tavern style) pizza with Pepperoni, Sausage & Mushrooms, and an order of four breadsticks (the garlic butter sauce is delicious!). Unfortunately, we dove in before snapping any pictures but remembered afterward.
Two people can get two meals out of this pizza. The pictures above show what was left after we were done the first night (I enjoyed the leftovers for dinner the following evening). This is a SOLID pizza. I shied away from “Detroit Style” for years because I thought it was the same as Sicillian (all dough and little sauce/toppings). I learned I was wrong after an order from Jett’s Pizza introduced me to Detroit Style. Now it’s one of my favorites, and Futuro does it justice. The worst part about ordering pizza from Futuro is I have to smell it all the way home to Fishers! Our total order was $33 for pizza, breadsticks, and tip. I think the quality and portion size you get is a bargain, and I look forward to ordering it again soon!
When was the last time you used the AM radio in your car? Me? Maybe twice in the previous year, when I wanted to listen to a Reds game while camping and when I tuned into emergency road information while traveling. The Early Chirp newsletter (worth checking out) had a short piece titled Inside The Fight To Keep AM Radio In Electric Vehicles. According to Safety Experts, AM Radio Waves are still useful in the case of a national emergency. Still, automakers have been slowly removing the AM band from their latest automobiles.
Sticking with the Automotive theme, a Bloomberg article titled “Extreme Acceleration Is the New Traffic Safety Frontier” outlines the dangers of the huge horsepower increases in current vehicles. Electric Vehicles (EVs) can be especially dangerous with sub-4-second 0-60 acceleration times, and don’t get me started on the Clowns driving the overpowered Dodge Chargers.
And finally… If you’ve ever driven to Chicago, you have undoubtedly seen the Oasis rest stops on the toll roads. What makes them unique is the placement upon a bridge-like structure over the highway. But, once a popular place to stop, these days they are disappearing. The It’s History channel on YouTube explains why.
2023 Week 16 – Lookout, Costco!
Ahhh, Indiana. It was 80 degrees the other day & we had a Freeze warning last night. Hopefully, the freeze didn’t kill any of your freshly planted flowers. We haven’t planted yet, so that’s a good thing! I didn’t get around to drafting this week’s post over the weekend, so I’m knocking it out Monday evening. It’s amazing how the weekend can get away from you!
The nicer weather the past two weeks has allowed me to take walks during lunchtime, and one of my destinations recently has been City Market. While it’s nothing like it was pre-Covid, several shops are hanging on, and they are getting a fair amount of lunch business. Cafe Olivia has gotten a lot of love in my office, and after getting a few sandwiches from there, I can see why! I tried a Cuban sandwich a few weeks ago, and although it wasn’t pressed on a Plancha in the traditional way, it had all the flavors and really hit the spot. On the last visit, the Cuban was unavailable, so I asked the lady behind the counter what their best seller was, and she said the Pastrami Reuben was a popular choice.
I’m not a huge sauerkraut fan and asked for a light amount. As you can see from the picture, there still was a considerable amount, but it was really GOOD kraut. Mixed with Thousand Island, it was a perfect complement to the Pastrami and dark Rye bread. Cafe Olivia has a rotating display of “Dirty” Chips next to the checkout. These are some seriously good chips, with the skin on and lots of seasoning. It’s disappointing that the Indianapolis City Market took such a hit during the Pandemic, but I’m glad to see several shops that weathered the storm. My favorite Crepe Shop didn’t make it, though. City Market still has a lot of really good places to eat, from Sandwiches to Pizza to Mexican and Middle Eastern. If you work downtown, it’s a nice walk to the market and still worth visiting!
After watching the construction and receiving about a dozen flyers, we finally ventured to Hamilton Town Center to check out BJ’s Wholesale Club. If you purchase a $55 membership, you get a $40 credit applied to your account, so for a net of $15, it was a good way to get us in the door. If you haven’t been to a BJs Wholesale Club, it’s like a Sam’s Club or Costco but with less “stuff” in the middle (clothing, etc.). It’s more focused on food, and the crowds are a fraction of what they are at Costco. I’ve visited twice, and both times were very nice, with little in the way of crowds or lines at the registers. One of the unique things about BJ’s is they take coupons, and they have digital coupons in their app. I saved a considerable amount from my last purchase by clipping digital coupons. You’re also not restricted on the type of card you use for payment (Costco). As far as alcohol sales go, this BJ’s location is only selling beer and wine at this time.
Similar to Sam’s & Costco, BJ’s sells discounted fuel too. I’m in the Hamilton Town Center area pretty regularly, so topping off the tank will be something I plan on doing. I need to compare the prices with Kroger and the Fual Point Discounts I get to see if it’s worth a special trip up there or not. I just checked, and my Costco membership expires at the end of July; I think BJ’s might be replacing it.
And finally… Robertson, Phillips, and the History of the Screwdriver. Did you know Canada has its own type of screw (and driver) that’s all but unheard of in the US? The History Guy had a video discussing the differences in another fascinating history lesson.
2023 Week 15 -Time for the Fly Swatter
The weather is warming up, and it’s lawn care season yet again! Fortunately, I have a firefighter in my neighborhood with a lawn-mowing business. I’ve been using him for several years, and he does a great job keeping the yard looking tidy, and his prices are very reasonable. Unfortunately, I’ve been a little lax on the weed and feed and decided to hire a local company to treat the lawn. After a bit of Google searching and review reading, I found one in Fishers that claims to be heavy on communication. The initial consultation and application proved them right. I’ll do a more in-depth review later this year once I get a few applications on the lawn.
I just realized the other day I hadn’t had as much food content lately, but I’ve still been eating lots of new things and trying new places, so I will include a lunch/dinner segment in the blog more regularly. I headed to The Garage for lunch last week to check out a Cuban place we spotted on our Birthday tour of Indy a few weeks ago. I’ve been hesitant to visit the Garage for lunch because of the parking prices ($6+ when I went to an after-work event a few months ago), but I just learned that Lot 4 on the West side of The Garage offers parking for $2 from 9-5 and between 11 am and 3 pm, the first hour is FREE.
On my last visit, I checked out Palavana Cubano, “Indy’s newest go-to spot for Cuban-inspired cuisine, specializing in the classic Cubano Sandwich,” according to the Garage Vendor Page. Being my first time visiting this location, I opted for the traditional Cubano Sandwich (they have several varieties) and a mix of regular and sweet potato fries (which are slowly starting to grow on me).
As you can see, this is not a small sandwich. It felt like it had a full pound of roasted pork, and I could have easily shared this (or only eaten half), but it was so good I joined the clean plate club with this one. The sauce on the side was a cumin-based red sauce that went well on the fries. Now that The Garage Food Hall is complete, it houses some excellent lunch/dinner options. I’m planning a return visit to try another new place in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Last Friday, the first day of the 2023 NRA Convention in Indianapolis, at least 35 school districts in Indiana received a robotic-sounding voice calling in a bomb threat.
“Out of an abundance of caution, troopers throughout the state have been in communication with their local schools to offer assistance and resources,” the statement continued. “School corporations are working with their local law enforcement to make the best decision about their operations today.”Indiana State Police
The convention’s timing and threats may be coincidental, but the timing is suspicious. According to Vice magazine, this isn’t an isolated incident, A Computer-Generated Swatting Service Is Causing Havoc Across America, and people can pay as little as $75 to have a school shut down. Of course, schools have to take this seriously, but the amount of resources and time wasted is incredible.
Swatting is when someone calls in a bogus threat in an attempt to direct law enforcement resources to a particular home, school, or other location. Often, swatting calls result in heavily armed police raiding an innocent victim’s home. At least one case has resulted in police killing the unsuspecting occupant.Vice.com
The Vice article listed above is a really good read and gets into the problem’s details and provides a couple of recordings used in the past. It’s going to be interesting to see how these incidents will be handled as time goes on.
And finally… Speaking of criminals, where do you keep your valuables? If you have a Safe, is it easy for a burglar to locate it? The following video has some great ideas for hiding and protecting your stuff from getting stolen.
2023 Week 13 – Oui Oui!
We had some wild weather come through Indiana Friday night, and as of today, there are at least ten confirmed tornados south of Indianapolis and several deaths. McCormick’s Creek took a hit, and several campers were injured. We didn’t have much going on until after 10 pm, and then the wind picked up and was really blowing things around. We ended up losing power for a few minutes (again). Other than a few branches in the yard, the north side of Indianapolis faired pretty well.
I ended up in Greenwood Friday morning for a work function, and I remembered tagging a French Bakery in Google Maps when I read about it several months ago. I wasn’t sure if I was close because it felt like I had driven halfway to Bloomington to get to this event. Lo and behold, I was less than 5 miles from Le Croissant French Bakery (no website), located at 916 E Main St, Greenwood, IN 46143.
They had a great selection, and it was pretty hard to choose what to get. I ended up with a Ham and Cheese Croissant and a Cheese Danish (made with Croissant dough). I warmed up the Ham and Cheese Croissant with a nice glass of Chardonnay for dinner and the Cheese Danish for breakfast the following day.
Both pastries were quite large, and the toppings/fillings were generous. I could imagine someone with a light appetite only eating half of these. 30-seconds in the microwave brought them both back up to room temp (I had placed them in the fridge when I got home), and I’m just going to say this place is legit. I’m already planning on a return trip in the near future.
Le Croissant French Bakery is open Tue-Sat 8 am-4 pm, and closed on Sunday and Monday.
I’ve had some weird issues with the website and have been making some changes behind the scenes. You might find it offline occasionally as I attempt to rebuild it. Rest assured; we’re not going anywhere 🙂
And finally… Fishers tore down their Town Hall earlier this year because it was sinking, and the repair costs were prohibitive. A new building is currently under construction & will house an art center and other new things. The city just released a timeline of their progress.