Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Great Lunch

I was in East St Louis today with Marianna for a Park District planning meeting. This is a mural on the side of a Mexican restaurant and general store in Fairmont City just east of East St. Louis and on the proposed heritage trail we are working on. The food here is great and one of my favorite ethnic culinary stops.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Birds at feeder

These birds sure are eating a lot.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Thinking About the Next Russia Trip

This is the best image I can come up with to show that I am now working on my trip back to Russia this summer. This poster of Lenin hangs in my office.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fat Cat

This is Poe my big time feline buddy. How he fit into this bed that was designed for a much smaller cat is beyond me. Hard to tell where he starts and where he ends. Right against the baseboard heat and only a couple of feet from the wood stove. "Heat sucker II"?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Homer Wireless

My town Homer, IL has been trying to go wireless for a couple of years and it finally looks like it will happen. It is hard to see but there is a technician on our old water tower today setting up wireless transmitters.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A NewHomestead??

Would we like to own property along th Salt Fork River and build a new home. Well, Yes. This 4 acre property might be a possibility.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Winter Cooking

The heat in our house is supplemented by our wood stove and here it is helping cook a pot of homemade chicken soup.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

East St Louis Touirsm Meeting

Today I led a very rewarding meeting about tourism development in East St. Louis. It looks like we are moving forward and in a very positive way. From L to R: Mark Sugars, Southwestern Tourism Bureau; Anne Walker, Katherine Dunham Centers for Arts and Humanities; Mayor Alvin Parks; Ron Longley, Casino Queen and Irma Golliday, East St. Louis Park District.

"Heat Sucker"

The pet and cold weather themes continue. This is Harley our oldest and smallest cat lying so close to the wood stove that is running at 400 degrees. Ironic that the installation instructions for the stove state that there should be no combustible materials close to it. Are little kittys combustible?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Close-up pictures

We just bought a new 105mm macro(close-up) lens for our cameras. The image on the left is from one of the orchid plants I have that just started blooming. I buy them from the big box stores for real cheap after they have bloomed and people won't buy them. I'm sure there will be a lot more close-ups posted as I get the hang of it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Frosty Whiskers

Sorry for continuing to focus on the weather. This is my very old Golden Retriever "Yoshi" after our sub-zero 3 mile walk this morning. I had frosty whiskers also!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Keeping Warm

I guess I'm obsessed with the weather at times but the current cold snap has given our wood stove extra duty in keeping the house warm What you see here are my supplies of firewood.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Time to Read

This weekend it is supposed to be really cold (-10 to -20 wind chill) so I went to my favorite bookstore for some new reading material. I expect to spend a lot of tome in my comfy chair with a cat in my lap.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

East St Louis Class

Although they weren't thrilled with my picture request here you have the great FAA 391 class for Spring 08. From L to R, Wendy, Jess, Ashley, Johanna, Dee, Mari and Joseph.

Go Joseph, we have a lot to prove :)


I reached into my briefcase to retrieve the power supply for my laptop and ended up with this big mess of stuff. In addition, my phone charger, connection from phone to PC and card reader. We may be wireless in many places but getting connected still requires plugging something in.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Classes

Arrrggg. Not a good picture but this is half my 218 class which started today. The other half is to the right and I'll try to get them next class. Obviously the phone camera does not have much of a wide angle.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I have been hooked on cooking soup since I visited Poland and Russia this summer. Here I am sauteing portobello, fern and shiitake mushrooms for my soup. Was this ever good.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Semester

Classes start tomorrow and the returning to campus ritual resumes. Unloading holiday loot and all clean clothes. How fast the break went and how little of what I had hoped to do got done. But then again that is what I say every year!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Industrial Wasteland

I just got back from 2 days in East St. Louis and this picture represents what was once a thriving industrial city. The jobs are gone and the rubble, pollution and despair remain. Nevertheless our optimism does not diminish for a better future.


This award was given to me by the Director of the East St. Louis Park District. Actually it is a tribute to all the work our students have done in East St. Louis along with the ESLARP staff and faculty partners. It is kinda corny but things like this mean a lot for the meaning behind them. It will be hanging in our conference room soon.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Agritourism Conference

I was in Springfield today at an Agritourism and Specialty Crop growers conference. Any number of interesting exhibitors.

Empty Campus

Central Illinois is not known for sunny January days but here's one. Classes don't start until next week and campus is abandoned.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tourism Scholarships

Each year at the Governor's Conference on Tourism they hold a silent auction to support student scholarships. Mike Raycraft helped me out in supporting that effort by providing a U of I football signed by coach Zook.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Pile of Corn

What you see here are two giant piles of corn in Homer waiting to be turned into ethanol. Local estimates have it at one million bushels. This part of Central IL has some of the most productive soil in the world.

BTW, we set a record high temperature today at 67.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Crazy IL Weather

What a change. The temperature today was 60 degrees warmer than on the 2nd. These are some kids in my neighborhood out playing without jackets. I spent most of my day outside working in the yard and even washed my truck. If nothing else it is a welcome break as we prepare for the next Canadian blast of cold.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Here in central Illinois where it is so flat we do have some pretty wonderful sunrises and sunsets. This is the former on one of those rare January days that was not overcast. If you look closely you can see the outline of farm buildings.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Good Deed

I did my good deed for today. They announced a severe local shortage of blood and particularly my flavor so I made another donation.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bird Bath

It was still very cold this morning. Our bird bath has a heater in it and our feathered friends enjoy a beverage when everything else is frozen. Even with the heater you can see the ice that has formed.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Homer Lake

How do you take a picture of cold? This morning it was 1 degree with a wind chill of -17. This picture was taken at Homer Lake near my home just at sunrise. What you see are a lot of Canada Geese sitting on the ice as the lake is now frozen over. As soon as I walked to to the lake edge many of them started "honking." What a racket.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Christmas Tree

My goal for this blog is to post a picture every day of 2008. Something personal that I found to be important, attractive or unusual in my life. I have no preconceived idea what I will post and look forward to reflecting on my year in photos on January 1, 2009.

This is our Christmas tree for the '07 season. We think it really looks great. I am so disappointed how everyone just forgets about Christmas on Dec. 26. That is why our tree is still up.