A Mind Needs Books

“My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer and I have my mind…and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That’s why I read so much Jon Snow.”

Tyrion Lannister, A Game of Thrones

One should always strive for self-improvement, and reading is, dare I say, fundamental to that cause. Unfortunately, over the last six years as I’ve gotten further along this crazy journey of life and parenting, I’ve found myself reading less than I ever have before averaging maybe two or three books every year. I’ve recently set-out to rectify this situation, lest my mind lose its edge, by dedicating myself to reading a biography of Winston Churchill Hero of the Empire. I got the book as a gift over a year ago, and it has sat on my bookshelf gathering dust ever since!

I started in early December, making slow progress here and there, but this week I’ve made sure to sit down to read at least 10-12 pages each night, and it just so happens that each chapter is about that length!. I’m currently on page 66 and the book is listed at 400 pages, but that includes the acknowledgements, index, and sourcing etc starting on page 321. That leaves me with 254 pages to go, which should put me on pace to finish by the end of January. A book a month over the course of this year would be a huge improvement over my recent average, even though ol’ Winston might scoff at such a pedestrian goal!

I’ll lay out some of my other goals in future posts, and hopefully keep all five of you who read this blog updated along the way.

Also, don’t forget to like/follow the Trails and Tributaries Facebook page as well since I often share interesting articles and videos there that don’t make it into a blog post.





Tech No?

We’ve been pretty tech-averse in our house for awhile, that is until Christmas when welcomed a brand new Amazon Echo into our lives. 

We’ve had it for five months now and I can’t really say that it’s changed our lives or anything (ok, maybe there are a few more impromptu dance parties than before), but it’s been a semi-helpful addition at least. 

Need some soothing classical music when the kids are nuts? No problemo.
Need a quick weather report? Got you covered.

Have no idea what the family schedule looks like today? Just ask!

Am I worried about the NSA spying on me? Nope. I’m probably more worried about Amazon and Google getting together to form SkyNet and an army of Terminators, but I think as long as we keep Asimov’s rules in order we’ll all be just fine with our new friend Alexa.

My Saturday Morning Ritual


Almost every Saturday I start the day with a walk around the neighborhood with my trusty sidekick Madden. This isn’t just for pure canine biological necessity, although she takes care of plenty of business along the way. It’s a chance to stretch our legs, get some fresh air, and enjoy the peaceful early morning.

Thankfully the rain stopped by the time morning rolled around today and we were able to make it out for a good long stroll. Here’s hoping for a respite from the rain and some decent weather this weekend!


We Cut the Cord!

Well, kind of…

You see, when the wife called our provider to get rid of cable it was actually cheaper to just keep the “local package” rather than to just keep phone and internet. So we still have a bunch of channels, but cut about $30 a month off our bill.

We tried going fully sans cable and just streaming a few years ago, but it turned out to only save us a few dollars, and the addition of streaming services pretty much wiped out that savings. This plan seems like the perfect mix though. We’re not paying for a ton of content we don’t consume, but still getting local networks and a fair amount of cable, including household staples like CNN, HGTV, and NatGeo. (Yes, those might be the lamest networks ever to be excited about, but I accept my lameness and embrace it!)

Now we have the flexibility to add and drop premium streaming services as shows we watch go in and out of season, and make use of the services we already pay for, all for less money.

If you’re like us and frustrated by paying exorbitant amounts of money to your cable provider because you don’t feel like you’re getting your money’s worth then give it a shot!

What’s the worst that could happen?