Kansas Trip 2016, Part II

Soooooo, where was I… Ah, yes.  So: my parents live in Pittsburg, a sleepy little college town tucked into the southeast corner of Kansas. Home of the Gorillas, the Little Balkans Days, and some of the best fried chicken around (no, really!).

Also the home of muzzy and dad, and it means I get to spend a lot of quality time with my parents and sisters and nieces and nephews.  For example, this little nut.

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We had our own little early Thanksgiving dinner while there.  My girl Mahni made the lovely, colorful centerpiece.

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Linus got the coveted seat next to Muzzy.

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After dinner we all went off to the nearby park, to burn off those turkey calories.

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Watching dog walkers is apparently super fascinating.

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Every year Mahni and I have a photoshoot, and this year was no different.

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These two – they have always had a special little thing between them.  Mahni + Linus = buds forever.

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And that’s all she wrote.  We parted ways and it sucked and Peter kept asking when Dylan was coming back to hang with him, but alas everyone had other things going on. Like: school.  Kinda important.

So we went off on our own the next day.  First stop was the ever-exciting PITTSBURG MALL.  Otherwise known as the one-hall-mall (for real, super tiny), but don’t let the size fool you. There’s some quality stuff hidden in there.

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And by that I mainly mean: The Mall Deli.

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Mall Deli French dip, never leave me.

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After lunch we walked the hall…

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Next stop: introduce the boys to Pitt State U. campus.

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(Side note: I used to love to study in this weird little corridor in Yates Hall. There are little recessed areas with tables behind those brick walls.  So: NOSTALGIA.

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Also also I have total plant envy.

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Anyway. Then off to the stadium.

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Rainy days makes for fancy photos.

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Soooo…

Right outside the stadium this cop was basically running a speed trap, and Linus would not stop bugging him, so he was super nice and called us over and let the kids crawl all over his car while he talked to them about what a police officer does.  The kids were in HEAVEN.  Thank you, random Pittsburg police officer, for being super cool.

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That night we hit up my sister’s restaurant, Jim’s.  Because (and if you know anyone in the restaurant biz, you know this is the truth) it was kind of the way to get quality time with her.

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Pete was intent on making his own order, the fancier the better.  The kids ordered food but we just got a cocktail + onion rings because we were going to eat dinner with my parents later.  Know what I love about Jim’s?  It’s a hidden vintage gem tucked away in small-town Kansas.  It’s the type of place David O. Russell would die to film at. And also: the bartender makes a mean White Russian.

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Also the butter there gets the official Linus Thumbs Up.

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(I wasn’t kidding about the White Russian.)

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We headed home sad that we didn’t get any beef tips, but: Dad’s pork tenderloin rounds were a decent consolation prize.

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(the kids love Muzzy’s because there are ample candy jars EVERYWHERE and no one ever tells them “no”. VICTORY)

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After that lovely dinner, and after tucking the sugar-filled children into their beds, we ran away and met up with my dearest friend and soul sister, Nikki.  She and her husband had just bought a new home, so we toured it and then Nikki, Dom, and I retired to her new kitchen to catch up.

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(the menfolk watched TV.  Dorks.)

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Always like a recharging of the batteries to spend time with that woman. If you don’t have a Nicole like her in your life, well.  I feel sorry for you.

And on to the next day!  We stopped by Tinnie and Rick’s to say hullo and good-bye because we were heading out soon. We gave Alonso many pets, toured the house, and actually this year they bought a new house so there’s new tours to be had.

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And then we were off. Peace out, Pitt.

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Soooo.  We were headed to Halstead, but we decided to finally make a pitstop on the way, to see Big Brutus (if you’re Linus, you’d STILL refer to it as”Big Bruder” because he’s a lover of all things Bruder).  ANYHOO.  We veered off course a bit to check this thing out.

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Big Brutus is a retired electric shovel, used to dig out around strip mines around the area, and it’s the 2nd largest in history.  When the company was done using it they literally parked it right there at the end of its final dig site, and there it still stands today. The town built a mining museum on-site, and that’s where we headed that day.

And I know this sounds like a silly thing to point out, but: Big Brutus is huuuuuuuuge.

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SUPER HUGE.

Your museum ticket gets you full access to the thing, and by that I mean: they take yer money and shove you outside and you just kinda crawl all over however you’d like. Except you can’t climb the boom on windy days (and pretty much every day in KS is windy, so: THAT’S A DIRTY TRICK THERE, MINING MUSEUM).

Anyway. We climbed all over the damned thing. And no one else was there that day, so we had it all to ourselves.

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I know you’re tired of hearing it but THIS THING WAS SO BIG HOLY SHIT.

So there are a bunch of other steam/electric shovels on the property, so we explored all that stuff.

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Inside the museum building itself were a few displays and a tiny gift shop.  Where I bought shirts and cups and we officially love this place, as goofy as that sounds.

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Bye, Southeast Kansas.  It has been real.

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Next up is central Kansas in all its glory. Coming soon, folks.

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