Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Happy Birthday!

At this point I don't disclose ages...but if you know her on Facebook - they still happily disclose ages.

Love you Cari!

Monday, January 25, 2016

I'm a lumberjack. . .

A rather large cypress tree fell over in my yard with all the rain we have been having recently.  I thought about standing it back up. . . 

But instead went with the option to cut it into chunks and use it for a good winter fire.  Yeah, I could have borrowed a chainsaw from a friend or neighbor, but I decided I should get the exercise and do this job by hand.  

I've got about half of the original length off of both trunks but I didn't really consider at the time that the trunks would continue to get thicker and harder to cut all the way down.  
I haven't given up yet, it is just going to take a little more time than I originally thought. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Cowboy Pinball

We went to the rodeo last weekend.  It isn't something that we have seen in a very long time and I'm not certain that the kids would remember ever having been.

The show started with some cowboys riding some bucking horses.

We also saw barrel racing and, of course, bull riding.

The MC and rodeo clowns put on some skits and told jokes between events and the entire show was very entertaining.

At one point the MC called for anyone interested in playing "cowboy pinball" to come to his end of the arena.  I thought it was some kind of kid thing but wasn't sure what it was.

Toward the end of the evening I saw the rodeo clowns pouring chalk circles into the dirt floor of the arena.  The circles were pretty close together and the MC called for the people playing "cowboy pinball" to come down to the gate.

I leaned over and told my daughter that they were going to stand people in the circles and release a bull.  I was kidding and she wasn't believing me.  Then I leaned to my other side and told Cari the same thing.  She didn't believe me either but I was beginning to believe myself.

The volunteers were all adults and they all ran onto the dirt and claimed a circle.  Two women were in the group and they were told to use the two circles furthest to the back.  Then the MC went into this speech that everyone in the arena was a witness to.  He declared this game to be stupid and a bad idea.  Nobody in their right mind would do this and if anyone got hurt it was their own stupid fault.  The audience cheered and I knew for certain my prediction was about to come true.

The gate swung open and an angry bull jumped sideways into the arena kicking and bucking.  A few of the guys closest to the gate dodged and moved from their circles.  They were out and made a run for the wall.  

A few times the bull got too far away from the players so a rodeo clown would lure the beast back toward the circles.  One of the women took a hit to the stomach by the bulls head and she tumbled into the dirt.  Another player took a good headbutt and hit the dirt pretty hard.

In the end there was one guy remaining in his circle with his hands up victoriously.  He won. No prize for this game, but he won.

Rodeo's are awesome.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

The Internet Lies!

Have you seen the video of cats that are terrified of cucumbers?  It's pretty funny.

For some reason cats seem to have a natural fear of cucumbers.  Then Cari and I realized that, hey! we have cats.  After a quick stop at the grocery store we were setting up our camera ready to watch our cat leap 10 feet into the air.

After getting the cat to sit down, we quietly set a cucumber on the table next to the cat.  Becoming impatient we stood behind the cat and called to her.  She turned her head, looked at me calling her, looked at the cucumber, looked straight ahead with boredom, and walked away.

The internet lies.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

First Hike of 2016

We have a tradition of trying to get a family hike in as close to New Year's Day as possible.  This year that day would be Jan 2.

Nobody had a scheduled event and nobody had a job to go to so we loaded up the car and headed to one of our favorite hikes to see Yellow Branch Falls.  It has been raining for the past 30 days, so I expected this sometimes weak waterfall to be FULL.

We grabbed our matching backpacks and with the promise of Chick-Fil-A milkshakes we heard no complaining as the hike started out.

We crossed a few creeks on the way to the falls.  A few required rock hopping

. . .and one used a fallen log as a bridge where I did battle with my daughter!

 What started out as a staged fight for a photo turned into an opportunity for her to grab my arm. . .

Around half way we stopped for a lunch break just off the trail.

When we arrived at the falls there were a few other groups already there and taking photos.  We found a spot among the other hikers to stop and take our own photos:

On the way out I found a tree that had fallen across two banks and rested overhead across the trail.  I climbed up and walked part way out onto this tree and stood over the trail for a few photos.

Then I got scared I would fall and climbed back down.

After the hike Cari and I came through on our promise.  We had completed a family hike with no arguing or complaining by anyone.  We arrived at Chick-Fil-A and ordered too many peppermint milkshakes.  The cashier smiled and apologized.  They were out of peppermint shakes for the day.  We substituted chocolate and everyone was still smiling.  The first hike of 2016 had been a success!


It's pretty tough getting us all to make a nice smile for a photo. . .

Friday, December 18, 2015


I always post birthday pictures with some symbol of the age being celebrated.  I didn't do this for my own birthday this year... I could give some excuses on why I didn't do it, but I guess it just comes down to being tired.  I'm old and needed a nap.

Here is a photo taken just a few days before my birthday, so this is essentially what 40 looks like.

Thank you to everyone that posted on Facebook and sent cards wishing me a happy birthday this week.  It was a great day.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Chair of DOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Over the weekend I decided to finally get rid of the old office chair sitting around.  The youngest and I went out to the driveway with some tools and started dissembling it.

It didn't take long to make this chore into something more fun.  What kind of seats could we make more comfortable with this old chair back?

As we were playing around we realized the chair is on wheels and our driveway is a hill.  It was time to create the. . .

Chair of DOOM!

"Dad, is this safe?", she asked.  I gave her the handles to hold onto.

Next up. . . more victims riders.
If I'm being honest, we were a little nervous about riding down and into the road at this point.  So we were doing short rides and crashing into the grass. But that didn't last long. . .

It's so safe we even convinced a nurse to try it.  Notice she opted for the extra safety of the handles.
Who knew an old chair destined for the trash would be so much fun?  I'm thinking this weekend we all go out with our office chairs and RACE down the hill at the top of the street.  

Trying not to smile in this one....

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Be Still and know that I am God

With mild fall weather the past week I spent several of my lunch hours looking for a quiet place to walk.

My first adventure took me to a nearby cemetery where I walked the paths.  It was quiet around the cemetery and most of the time I was the only one out there.   At one point I approached an area where I could hear the quiet music of some wind chimes.
This was a very peaceful walk and cemeteries are always an opportunity for an interesting story.

Among the graves was this one unique grave stone with the olympic rings etched into the corner.
After a brief search online I found a wikipedia page for this famous fencing athlete.  Norman Armitage competed in the olympics during six olympic games.

Another lunch hour adventure last week took me to the campus of Furman University.

Walking around the lake and listening to the bell tower chime made for a relaxing lunch hour.

I found a sign that pointed back into the woods toward a prayer garden.  On my way out from the prayer garden I noticed a small platform built in the woods, off the trail.  There were two chairs on the deck and a fairly large sign.
I REALLY wanted to know what was written on that sign.  I began walking into the woods and found myself at the edge of a muddy area.  Without getting very muddy or digging my way through thick brush I was not going to discover the words on this sign.

I stood at the edge of the mud for a few minutes.  I had to get back to work and I was not dressed for this adventure.  I had to turn back without getting to the sign.  BUT I will go back sometime in the future.

Taking some time to discover these quiet spaces makes for some of the most peaceful lunch hours.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Carolina Panthers are Awesome

The final highlight of our recent trip was a trip into Charlotte to see a NFL game between the Panthers and the Packers.  This was our first time to the stadium and we were not disappointed.

Before you even get into the place the atmosphere tells you this will be fun.  In every parking lot - tailgating.  Fans for both teams wearing colors, jerseys, and cheese on their head (not panther fans).  Fans on both sides sharing some friendly taunting about who will win (and who has cheese on their head).    A drum line outside of the stadium. . .

We found our seats before going exploring and people watching.  We were near the endzone - which I initially wasn't sure would provide a good view of the game, but turned out it was an amazing view of the game.

The stadium has a capacity of over 70,000 and they said it was a sold out event.  That's a lot of football fans in one place.

A few things I want to mention about attending a game.

1.  It's loud.  I've been to several NASCAR races and, I'm telling you, the noise in that stadium when        Cam Newton threw a touchdown pass is louder than 43 cars in a pack at Daytona.
2.  I didn't realize how much the players communicate and give direction before a play.
3.  It was fun watching the players interact and play to the crowd after a big play.
4.  Oh man!  It's loud.  The sound is part of what made it so fun.
5.  It's pretty rare to use your seat.  You stand up and cheer the entire game.
6.  Charlotte knows how to move traffic for events.  I have been to NASCAR, NBA, and now NFL          events in Charlotte and have never once had a problem parking or leaving an event.

Here is a collection of photos and short videos I took during the game:

Carolina won the game last Sunday and remain undefeated this season.  We had an amazing time at the game.  This wasn't part of our original trip but at the last minute we were gifted these tickets from a great friend.  This made for an awesome finish to our trip.

Monday, November 09, 2015

The Getaway

Cari planned an amazing getaway for us this past weekend.  By planning she planned a specific long weekend for us to get out of town just the two of us.  The specifics were a little light but we are learning that sometimes those trips turn out the best.

We headed up to Asheville on the only day of our trip when rain wasn't expected so we took the opportunity to walk around town with the hippies and check out some yarn stores.
We can also tell you that the best stores were found along Walnut St. Always look for Walnut St on your adventures!

We woke up Saturday to some light rain that came and went with the hour.  We decided to head up to the Blue Ridge Pkwy and see what views were available.

There was some sort of mountain marathon happening this day and traffic was picking up at one of the trail heads.  We went further down the pkwy and did a short hike on a beautiful morning.
 Watch where you step or you may find yourself scraping your shoes on the curb. . .

On the way back toward town we chased the elusive visitor center but never went far enough to find it so we hit the Asheville Outlets.   We found the Outlets pretty un-inspiring and looked for another opportunity to be outdoors.  A ten minute drive down the road lead us to the NC Arboretum.

We had visited once before but on this trip we took more time walking the nature trail in the light rain.

My fitbit went over 10,000 steps on Saturday.

Sunday morning we were headed to Charlotte to watch the undefeated Panthers take on the Greenbay Packers.  This was another part of our trip that was initially unplanned.  Just a few days before we were leaving I was telling a friend that we were going to be going away for the weekend.  He told me he had two tickets to the Panther game that he couldn't use.  He gifted those tickets to us and helped plan the last part of our trip.

That portion of our getaway deserves a blog of its own. . .